Cuomo signs Metzger bill to raise pension cap for volunteer responders

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill by Sen. Jen Metzger that increases the maximum pension amount that a volunteer fire department and ambulance corps can offer its members for each year of service as a recruiting too.

The bill, unanimously approved by both the Senate and Assembly in June and signed by Cuomo on Nov. 8, raises the annual limit to $1,200 from $700 for contributions to what are known as length of service award programs.

“Firefighters and EMS volunteers are the first line of defense in emergencies in our communities, and are vital to the protection of public safety and well-being,” Metzger, a Rosendale Democrat, said in a statement. “By increasing the maximum allowable award, we recognize the work of these dedicated and brave volunteers while also providing a stronger incentive for recruitment of new volunteers.”

Volunteers begin receiving payments through these programs once they reach retirement age, and can accrue up to 40 years of service credits. New York first authorized the payments in 1988 and hadn’t raised the contribution cap since 2004.

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