LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – Texas families who have lost law enforcement officer to covid-19 are now entitled to thousands in compensation, this comes after Gregg Abbott signed SB22 making covid -19 a suspected service line.
Until recently, covid-19 was not considered an occupational risk and families were denied relief.
Around the same time last year, cases of covid-19 were on the rise, especially in prisons.
“They were close, they had no way out,” Rachel Vega said.
Abraham Vega was sick, his colleagues were sick, and within a week he would die on a ventilator.
The last time we spoke, Rachel spent the past year frustrated with having to prove he caught the virus while working in a prison.
“I didn’t even have a chance to cry, because I had to go through it,” Vega said.
But she managed to testify before lawmakers
“I know what I’m fighting for. And I believe we are right, ”Vega said.
According to CLEAT, an organization that works to improve law enforcement, Texas has lost more than 100 officers to covid 19.
Abraham is not included in this number, so it is not known how many other employees died from complications from covid.
“Look what happened to all the other people across the state who didn’t have that, you really made everyone a priority,” Vega said.
Grieving families will face a longer barrier to state and country workers’ compensation.
In order to get national benefits you must first be approved for state benefits and this was a barrier for Rachel.
“So even though it happened a year ago, it’s not like you get a check the next day, you don’t get automatic benefits,” Vega said.
With the new bill, Vega’s family and dozens of people across the state felt relief.
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