An NBC 10 investigation of the quest by first responders to obtain disability benefits when they are treated for cancer quoted Professor Norman Stein.
The story, which aired on Nov. 8, describes the legal battle that firefighters diagnosed with cancer face in order to get disability benefits.
A state law that was passed in 2011 appeared to allow first responders to qualify for disability benefits if they could demonstrate that they got cancer at least four years after starting their careers with a clean bill of health. The Pennsylvania Cancer Presumption Law specifies that municipalities should assume that afflicted firefighters got cancer as a result of their exposure to soot and other carcinogens, the story notes, yet Philadelphia and other municipalities still force the workers to fight for their benefits in court.
Stein, an authority on employee benefits law, said a ruling the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued in October strengthened the firefighters’ hand, finding that the workers must simply show a potential link between a cancer diagnosis and arsenic, soot, formaldehyde and other carcinogens found in smoke.
“The opinion is a good one for firefighters,” Stein said. “It should make it easier for firefighters to get benefits.”
Stein is a nationally recognized authority on pension law, employee benefits and tax law.