Updated: Mar 30, 2020
We are writing to reinforce the importance of properly documenting Members' exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Our concern is based on past experience where the City has denied Line of Duty Death and Disability claims because of inadequate documentation of members’ exposure.
Both the World Trade Center and Infectious Disease bills provide presumptions that a member’s disability or death is due to their exposure. (We believe that, absent legislative correction, the Infectious Disease bill does NOT currently cover coronavirus victims.) However, in those applications, the burden remains on the member to provide proof of their exposure. Members’ reliance on the Department to preserve and provide documentation is misplaced, and has led to many denied applications.
We want to take this opportunity to remind you that you must document potential exposure, and retain copies of that documentation in your own files. In an effort to protect your potential pension rights, members should prepare as many Department documents as they can confirming the circumstances under which they may have been exposed at work. This includes making detailed and accurate entries in memo books, activity logs, command logs and LOD Injury reports. Please retain copies of any documents that you prepare, as our experience after 9/11 has shown that the Department cannot be relied on to produce those records. Taking pictures of these documents and emailing them to yourself should be adequate, so long as the images are legible and include sufficient information.
Members should document when they are directly in the presence of or in contact with both other members and the public that exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus. Members may become symptomatic while at work or at home, but it is important to document any potential exposure at work to protect your potential entitlement to benefits.