first responders

Va. Gov. Wants to Restore Benefits to Families of Retired First Responders

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A Virginia budget amendment could restore health care coverage to some family members of first responders whose careers were ended by injuries.

The Line of Duty Act (LODA) provides lifetime benefits to retired Fairfax County first responders like Scott Burris and Julie Kopp, who suffered their career-ending injuries while on duty.

But in 2017, an overhaul excluded family members who were added to the plan after the date of the member's disability, including Burris’ twin boys and Kopp's teenage son.

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“He received the medical coverage for 15 years, but now they're taking it away,” Kopp said.

Gov. Ralph Northam wants to fix that.

“We had the ability this year with our budget to kind of right a wrong, if you will, so we put money in our budget, about $124,000, so that it will take care of these individuals and that they'll have care and access to health care,” he said.

Northam acknowledge there's no guarantee the budget amendment will be approved.

“It's the right thing to do, and we have the resources to do it,” he said. “And I have asked that the things we have made our priority to please allow them to move forward and I'm confident they will.”

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