New Bill To Help Federal Firefighters Get Disability Benefits

POSTED: 05:56 PM PST Dec 30, 2013    UPDATED: 06:21 PM PST Dec 30, 2013 
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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

A new bill could help federal firefighters get on the same benefits as local crews.

Representatives Lois Capps and Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania are introducing the bill to help certain firefighters receive disability benefits.

The goal of the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act is to help federal firefighters harmed through service, obtain disability benefits the way local firefighters do.

If a city or county firefighter has a heart attack, lung disease or certain cancers, it is assumed their injuries are connected to firefighting. But federal crews must prove it.

"Our federal firefighters don't get the benefit of that doubt. Instead, they need to pinpoint the precise incident or exposure, that caused that illness. It's an impossible task. After a career of firefighting, how's a firefighter supposed to prove which fire gave him lung cancer?" said Capps.

Capps calls it an unattainable standard which causes a disparity that leaves some firefighters without care.

She also said she hopes to get enough votes for the bill by the end of this session of congress.