Empire State Sweetens Benefits for Military Personnel KIA

August 9, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - For the third year in a row, New York Governor George Pataki has signed into law bills expanding state benefits for the Empire State's military personnel and their families.

A Pataki news release said the bill was designed to provide health insurance coverage or death benefits to the survivors of an eligible public employee who is killed while on National Guard active duty in the military. Pataki inked similar benefits expansion bills in 2003 and 2004, the news release said.

“New York’s citizen-soldiers have long served our state and nation with honor and distinction,” Pataki said, according to the news release. “As brave New Yorkers continue to answer the call to duty, we must do all that we can as our neighbors, friends and loved ones place themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom and way of life.”

The new law authorizes the state to provide:

  • the survivors of eligible public employees who die while on active duty the same death benefits that their survivors would be entitled if the person died while working as a public employee
  • the survivors of eligible public employees who die active duty in the Armed Forces with the same health insurance benefits to which such survivors would be entitled if the public employee was killed on the job at home
  • the reimbursement of premium payments for $250,000 worth of service member’s general life insurance for members of the New York State National Guard during periods of non-training active service
  • for a new “War on Terror” license plate that shall be issued, upon request, to veterans of the Persian Gulf or Afghanistan conflicts

The earlier bills extended numerous benefits to National Guard troops and reservists, including scholarships for children of soldiers killed in action, increases in pay and some exemptions from state income tax. The latest measure will cost an estimated $800,000 to $1.5 million dollars a year.