Riverside

Texas first responders who die from COVID-19 denied state benefits – Riverside, California

Riverside, California 2020-11-20 10:30:50 –

Law enforcement group, surviving relatives call on Governor Abbott to act, but he says the law already allows money to flow.

The· Texas Prison System Continue to lead the country in COVID-19 (new coronavirus infection) (# If there is no character limit, add parentheses when it first appears IWith infection rate Prisoner’s deaths, However, another crisis has arisen because the families of deceased prison staff are unable to benefit from important first responders.

So far, 23 Texas prison officers have died in COVID-19.. Eric Johnson Is one of Those.

37 years old Survived by his wife, charity, and four children In Madisonville Texas..

“It really hit her and her children,” said Johnson’s cousin Shemeka Morning. “Charity misses her husband. All children miss him.”

Johnson’s family says their grief is exacerbated by their struggle for the benefits they attribute to them.

The Texas Criminal Justice Department reported Johnson’s death on duty, but the State Risk Management Department denied his family’s workers’ accident compensation claim.

In a letter denying the allegation, authorities said, “Currently, we could not accept this allegation as a compensatory injury that occurred in the process and scope of employment.” Johnson’s The widow is appealing for denial.

Workers’ Accident Compensation covers lost wages and medical costs.

“Eric was a veteran officer – – It’s grateful that he has aligned his life for the last few years. ” Rhinod.. “That doesn’t make sense to me. He just went to work and home. We know he was around a positive criminal at TDCJ.”

Family of Prison Officer Elizabeth Jones, 58, Texas City, Also waiting for help.

Her family says she was directly overseeing a prisoner infected with COVID-19 at the Carol Young Unit in Texas City.

“She was afraid to get it, and she knew she was in the most likely position to get it,” says her sister, Sandra Hightower. I did.

Jones died of COVID-19 in the summer after spending about two weeks in the hospital.

“If my sister had earned another year, she would have spent 20 years at TDC and completely retired,” said Hightower.

State-wide issues

Dozens of families of first responders across the state We are facing a similar bureaucratic maze. Those who survived the virus were also denied benefits, but it is the families of the deceased who are facing a complete loss of income.

Texas’s Joint Law Enforcement Association, or CLEAT, the state’s largest law enforcement association, has accused Governor Greg Abbott of not acting. They asked Abbott to sign an executive order that would allow the first responder who died of COVID-19 to contract it at work and make it easier for survivors to make significant profits.

Charlie Wilxon, CLEAT’s secretary general, said: “Many people haven’t received a check.

CLEAT officials cited one case in which law enforcement officials were first denied workers’ accident compensation benefits. The allegations were approved only after she was able to provide a text message from her husband indicating that she was working around a coronavirus-positive prisoner.

They continue to try to prove how they were infected with the virus until the death of first responders due to COVID-19 was displayed as “estimated” (that is, they were presumed to have a job).

“Then I’ll go back to my family and ask them to prove somehow.” Did I answer this call? Was it this arrest? Was it this interaction on this street? corner?Wilkison Said. “It will be impossible to reach that threshold.”

In a statement to the WFAA, Governor’s spokeswoman said, “Governor Abbott’s heart is directed at the families of those who have lost their loved ones because of COVID-19.”

According to the statement, the law already allows first responders to receive workers’ accident compensation benefits for “respiratory illness.”

But critics say the law wasn’t written to cover a pandemic.

“We’re back in the law we created. We had a hard time writing the law and worked hard to get it through,” Wilxon said. “We are very proud of it, but it doesn’t get there, and we’re happy to claim that it did. It’s not.”

Wilxon said he had consulted a lawyer on this issue, and as it is currently written, the consensus was a law that did not cover COVID-19.

CLEAT is currently being acquired in collaboration with lawmakers The law has changed. The Texas Legislature is held every two years this January.

In addition to ensuring that workers’ accident compensation covers the pandemic, they also ensure that the family of the first responder is eligible for line of duty benefits when they die of COVID-19. We are seeking a change in the law.

By law, the family of the first responder who died on the job is eligible for a $ 500,000 lump sum, state-paid funeral expenses, and other benefits.

“After all, if you look at all of this, you’re talking. [about] A working class family. ” D-Richardson, a member of the state legislature Ana Maria Ramos, is helping to lead the prosecution of lawmakers for law changes. “They don’t want anything they don’t make or their families don’t sacrifice.”

The family of Eric Johnson and Elizabeth Jones says they want Texas to honor the sacrifice. help The loved ones they left behind.

Email: investigates@wfaa.com

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