Cuomo Says Public Employees Who Died From COVID-19 Will Get Line-Of-Duty Death Benefits

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that public employees who worked on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and died from COVID-19 will receive the death benefits that are normally reserved for people who die in the line of duty. “I want to make sure we repay them —  and not just by saying thank you and running nice television commercials,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said full death benefits will be allocated to the families of any state worker who was a frontline worker. He listed transit workers, emergency responders and public healthcare workers as examples. “The people who showed up,” he said.

“There’s not a transit worker who drove a bus, who conducted a train, or a nurse who didn’t walk into a nursing room that wasn’t scared to death,” Cuomo said. “It was enough to shut down society.”

The state has not released official numbers on how many frontline workers have died from COVID-19, but Politico reported on April 17 that at that point, at least 138 New York City employees had died from the virus.

Death benefits in the state of New York for workers who die in the line of duty include paying a portion of funeral costs and up to 66% of that person’s salary is rewarded to a spouse until remarriage or if the person had children.  The money will come from local or state pension funds, Cuomo said.

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would be asking state officials to authorize funds for city workers who died from COVID-19.

The daily death toll on Monday dropped to 96, down from 109 on Sunday but still higher than the one-day low of 84 reported on Saturday. The numbers represent a steep drop from mid-April, when the state’s death toll topped 800 several days in a row.