Governor approves death benefit legislation


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TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to help families secure state and federal benefits after the death of a loved one has been signed into law.

“People work hard their whole lives in order to provide for their families, and that includes earning death benefits,” Senator Oroho said. “There are often plenty of regulations and other bureaucratic hurdles that families must clear before they can receive those benefits. This new law will make that a little easier, especially at a time when people are grieving.”

The legislation requires professionals certifying death to perform any testing and related actions necessary for survivors to claim state and federal benefits.

Senator Oroho helped craft the new law in response to a situation involving a Sussex County first responder in 2016. The individual had a heart attack in the line of duty and later died after being taken to the hospital.

The family requested a toxicology test, which was a requirement to qualify for the federal government’s Public Safety Officers Benefits Act’s death benefit. At first, the hospital refused to conduct the test due to cost, putting the family’s benefit at risk since test must be administered within 48 hours of the time of death. However, they ultimately cooperated with the family’s request.

“Grieving family shouldn’t have to fight for tests to get the death benefits they’re due,” Senator Oroho said. “Our new law will ensure that performing those tests becomes normal operating procedure for all hospitals and medical personnel in New Jersey.”

Assemblyman Parker Space sponsored the companion legislation in the General Assembly.
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