NYSPFFA announces Widows and Orphans COLA bill signed into law.

NYSPFFA announces Widows and Orphans COLA bill signed into law: This legislation extends the escalation of a cost of living increase of approximately 3% for all line-of-duty widows or widowers for fiscal year 2017-18.

Below is the Senates Memorandum in Support

BILL NUMBER: S4588A

SPONSOR: GOLDEN

TITLE OF BILL:  An act to amend the general municipal law and the retirement and social security law, in relation to increasing certain special accidental death benefits

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

This legislation extends the escalation of a cost of living increase of approximately 3% for all line-of-duty widows or widowers for fiscal year 2017-18.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

This bill amends subdivision c of section 208-f of the General Municipal Law as amended by Chapter 347 of the Laws of 2016 and subdivision c of section 361-a of the Retirement and Social Security Law, as amended by Chapter 347 of the Laws of 2016.

EXISTING LAW:

The law allows special accidental death benefits to be paid to a deceased members' widow or widower, or children under the age of eighteen or, if a student, under the age of twenty-three, in accordance with the stated schedule.

JUSTIFICATION:

Since 1978, the Legislature has passed and the Governor signed into law a cost of living increase and a one-year escalation for all New York State widows and widowers of police officers and firefighters killed in the line-of-duty. The intent of the original 1978 law was to increase their benefits to an amount that would reflect the impact of inflation. However, the law did not provide for any new cost of living increase after July 1, 1979. Since that date, the cost of living has increased well over 3% each year, including some periods of double-digit inflation. These same widows and widowers are no longer receiving adequate benefits. This Legislation does not totally cover the present inflation spiral, but it at least provides some increased relief to the widows and widowers of New York State's bravest citizens, who gave their lives in service to the people of New York State. In the past, these brave families have faced a poverty stricken existence.  This legislation would prevent the return of that deplorable state of affairs. As with previous legislation, there is no cost to the localities, as the state would reimburse them for this small increase.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2016: S.7179-A - Chapter 347

2015: S.4081-A - Chapter 23

2014: S.6467-A - Chapter 104

2013: S.4257-B - Chapter 196

2012: S.6438-A - Chapter 285

2011: S.3994-A - Chapter 161

2010: S.6879 - Chapter 439

2009: S.2343 - Chapter 305

2008: S.6733 - Chapter 76

2007: S.2492 - Chapter 39

2006: S.6744 - Chapter 88

2005: S.3971-C - Chapter 48

2004: S.6579-C - Chapter 351

2003: S.3903 - Chapter 139

2002: S.7263 - Chapter 313

2001: S.3297-A - Chapter 264

2000: S.6866-A - Chapter 231

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

See fiscal notes.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect July 1, 2017

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