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Christopher R. Slezak First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund
The Christopher R. Slezak First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund (the fund) was created by the legislature and is administered by the Director of the Workers' Disability Compensation Agency. The fund provides workers' disability compensation benefits to certain first responders as provided in statute, MCL 418.405(2).
In order to qualify for benefits from the fund, the first responder at the time of filing must meet ONE of the following criteria:
1. Be a full time member of a fire department or public fire authority; or
For a diagnosis on or after January 1, 2022,
2. Be a former full-time member of a fire department or public fire authority; or
3. Be a current or former part-time, paid on-call, or volunteer member of a fire department or public fire authority; or
4. Be a current or former part-time, paid on-call, volunteer, or full time forest fire officer/crash rescue officer.
In addition, the first responder must also meet ALL of the following criteria:
1. Must have or have had 60 months or more active service in the department or public fire authority
2. Been diagnosed with any respiratory tract, bladder, skin, brain, kidney, blood, thyroid, testicular, prostate, lymphatic cancer, ovarian, breast or non-HPV cervical cancer
3. If diagnosed with ovarian, breast or non-HPV cervical cancer, the diagnosis must have been made on or after January 1, 2022.
4. Been exposed to the hazards incidental to fire suppression, rescue, or emergency medical services in the performance of his or her work-related duties with the department or authority.
5. Have applied for and done all things necessary to qualify for any pension benefits to which he or she may be entitled.
The cancers described in the statute are presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment only with respect to a claim against the fund and in the absence of non-work-related causation or specific incidents that establish a cause independent of the employment. Neither mere evidence that the condition was preexisting, nor an abstract medical opinion that the employment was not the cause of the disease or condition, is sufficient to overcome the presumption for purposes of a claim against the fund. The presumption under this subsection may be rebutted by scientific evidence that the member or former member of the fire department or public fire authority was a substantial and consistent user of cigarettes or other tobacco products within the 10 years immediately preceding the date of injury, and that this use was a significant factor in the cause, aggravation, or progression of the cancer.
The presumption created in this subsection applies only to a claim for like benefits against the fund. For purposes of a claim against the fund as created under subsection (6), a fire department or public fire authority is considered the employer of a volunteer member.
Claims for benefits from the Christopher R. Slezak First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund application must be on the form provided by the agency and submitted to the agency via U.S. Mail:
Workers' Disability Compensation Agency
Christopher R. Slezak First Responders Presumed Coverage Fund
P. O. Box 30016
Lansing, MI 48909.
Note: A claimant may not receive benefits covering the same time period from both the fund and the employer. The suspension of the member's or former member's claim against his or her employer under this statute is in effect only during the period the member receives like benefits from the fund. If a redemption agreement between the fund and the claimant is approved, the suspension of a claim against an employer under this subsection continues indefinitely.
If you have any questions regarding fund, you may contact Tammy Ordiway, Senior Claims Examiner at 517-284-8969.