SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – Congressman Salud Carbajal announced that the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act will be included in the final text of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
The negotiated FY23 National Defense Authorization Act is expected to be passed by both chambers and signed into law by President Biden before the end of the month.
The Federal Firefighters Fairness Act ensures federal firefighters will have comparable access to job-related disability and retirement benefits as state, county and municipal firefighters.
“Federal firefighters have been on the front lines in California fighting wildfires as we experience longer and more extreme fire seasons, but their threshold to prove work-related illness is much higher than their state or local counterparts here in California and around the nation,” explains Representative Carbajal.
This measure establishes the presumption that federal firefighters who become disabled by serious medical issues did so due to their work-related exposures.
Currently, the burden is placed on individual firefighters to identify specific incidents or exposure that caused their injuries.
The International Association of Fire Fighters estimates this new legislation will benefit more than 10,000 firefighters across the nation that work protecting federal property at military installations and nuclear facilities, for example.
California was the first state to pass a firefighter's presumptive illness law in 1982 and as of 2019, 48 of 50 states now have these presumption laws for state and local firefighters.