Senate bill introduced to create COVID-19 victim compensation fund

South Dakota in just two weeks has paid out close to $30 in unemployment benefits because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (MGN)
South Dakota in just two weeks has paid out close to $30 in unemployment benefits because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (MGN)(KOTA)
Published: May. 19, 2020 at 5:26 PM EDT
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Several US senators, including Tim Kaine (D-VA) have introduce a bill that would create a fund to pay compensation for COVID-19 victims. It woud pay in the case of injuries to any person deemed an essential worker who is required to leave home to work and has become ill or died as a result of COVID-19. Families of such people would also be taken care of.

The Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act is modeled after the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

“Essential workers are putting their lives on the line every day to provide critical support for our communities amid this crisis,” said Kaine. “We owe them not only a debt of gratitude, but also financial assistance in the tragic event they’re impacted by the pandemic as a result of their work to help others.”

According to a release from Kaine's office, the act would:

• Establish a compensation fund for all essential workers, personnel, and their families, across all industries, that were required to leave their homes to perform their services and became ill or died as a result of COVID-19

• Support essential workers affected by COVID-19 across the country in their recovery by providing critical financial assistance to help with medical costs, loss of employment, loss of business, replacement services, and burial costs

• Authorize appropriated funds as needed for 5 years with the fund permanently closing one fiscal year after the Special Master determines that no additional claims can be filed

• Create a new website and office developed and administered by a Special Master to assist in the application process

• Maximize compensation for essential workers and their families by simplifying the application process to get those affected back on their feet.

The compensation application would allow claimants to provide information regarding the extent of their loss for consideration. Eligible people would receive compensation no later than 20 days after approval.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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