Assemblywoman Buttenschon: Legislation Ensures Our Volunteer Emergency Workers Get the Benefits They Deserve

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) announced the passage of legislation she co-sponsored to allow volunteer emergency responders to receive credits toward their length of service award programs (A10438-A).

“While volunteer firefighters and first responders aren't compensated, they're eligible for length of service award programs (LOSAP) to compensate them for their invaluable contributions,” Buttenschon said. “However, necessary social distancing guidelines have made it difficult for these courageous individuals to complete the training opportunities and dispatches necessary to qualify. These selfless volunteers put their lives on the line to protect our communities from harm, and it's critical that we ensure they can still receive the compensation they've earned.”

LOSAP are pension-like benefits volunteer emergency responders can obtain for serving their communities. To receive these benefits, New York requires volunteers to earn 50 points, each year, by responding to calls, attending training, and being on standby. However, many volunteers, especially vulnerable volunteers, were concerned they would not be able to earn the necessary number of credits due to precautions taken in the wake of COVID-19. This legislation will allow active volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers to earn up to five points per month during the COVID-19 pandemic. With little to no incentives, volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers provide our communities with quality, life-saving support, and this legislation is the least we can do to thank them for their service, Buttenschon added.