Bustos Votes to Improve Access to Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Federal Firefighters

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) voted to pass the bipartisan Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2022 – a bill to improve access to workers’ compensation benefits for federal firefighters.

“Firefighters put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our families safe – and those who become sick due to their service deserve our support,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “Today, I voted to pass the bipartisan Federal Firefighters Fairness Act to ensure that our brave heroes receive the same protections whether they’re employed by the local, state or federal government.”

Firefighters are regularly exposed to workplace hazards ranging from diesel emissions and carbon monoxide to cancer-causing chemicals released during fires. Due to their daily exposure to stress, smoke, heat, and various toxic substances, firefighters are far more likely than other workers to contract certain illnesses, such as lung, brain and digestive cancers, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Workers’ compensation laws in 48 states provide firefighters with a presumption that certain medical conditions are work-related. However, no such law covers the approximately 15,000 firefighters employed by the federal government. The Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2022 improves access to injury and illness benefits for federal firefighters to ensure that they have the same protections as those employed by state and local governments.