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BREAKING LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Extended COVID-19 Protections for Illinois First Responders Passes Both Houses

Written by Brent Eames

January 14, 2021

As we have previously reported, last year, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law an expansion of the benefits afforded to injured first responders and correctional officers under the Public Employee Disability Act (PEDA) injured after March 9, 2020 who have directly or indirectly had their recovery hindered as a result of COVID-19. This amendment to the law was in addition to the amendments passed to the the Workers’ Compensation Act, which created a presumption in favor of awarding work comp benefits to front line workers and first responders who become ill or injured due to COVID-19 in the course of employment. Lastly, the Illinois Pension Code for both Chicago police officers and Chicago firefighters was amended by reflecting that any death occurring as a result of COVID-19 would be rebuttably presumed to have been contracted while in performance of an act of duty, which should automatically trigger the death benefits available to these first responders under the statute. When all of these amendments were passed, they contained an expiration date which required that claims must occur on or before December 31, 2020. Unfortunately, this deadline proved to be too optimistic, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create problems across the country into 2021.

In order to address this premature expiration of benefits, on January 13, 2021, the legislature has passed amendments to the aforementioned laws which extend the afforded COVID-19 related benefits through June 30, 2021. Upon Governor Pritzker signing these amendments into law, they will become effective immediately.

These are extremely important and drastic developments under law, and we will be monitoring the developments very closely. If you have suffered a COVID-19 related illness or injury, please contact Brent Eames for a free consultation and to discuss your rights.

The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact Brent Eames at Eames Law Group, Ltd.

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