Updated On: Apr 30, 2020

The risk to law enforcement from COVID-19 is obvious.  One of the many questions being asked concerns the issue of what Heart and Lung (HLA) or Worker’s Compensation (WC) benefits are available to law enforcement officers in the event an officer contracts the disease.

 If an officer contracts the disease in the course or performance  of work duties, the officer is entitled to Worker’s Compensation and HLA, respectively.  Currently, that means if an officer can prove exposure while performing law enforcement  functions and contraction of the disease, the employer will be responsible for all medical bills and full salary of the officer.  The right to the benefits under both the WC and HLA is no different than any other disease to which an officer is exposed while working.   If work exposure and the disease occur, file a claim for both WC and HLA just like any other work injury.

 If the disease is contracted but no obvious work exposure exists and the officer files a claim for WC and HLA that is denied, then the officer should challenge the denial. Those appeal rights exist  in the same manner as they do for any other work injury.  Under current law it will be important for officers to be able to prove some type of work related exposure. Please document any events that could show any type of evidence of COVID-19 exposure.

                Finally, the Pennsylvania Lodge has already prepared legislation to submit to the General Assembly to amend the law to consider COVID-19 as an occupational disease for law enforcement officers, with benefits provided in the same manner and amount as currently exists under law for Hepatitis C.
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