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February 12, 2024

House Passes Bill to Secure Death Benefits for Surviving Spouses

DENVER, CO - The House today passed legislation to ensure that surviving spouses will receive lifetime death benefits if their spouse is killed on the job. 

“When the surviving spouses of firefighters, Colorado State Patrol officers, and other first responders remarry, they lose the death benefits they are entitled to,” said Rep. Sheila Lieder, D-Lakewood. “Death benefits for spouses are crucial in supporting widows and widowers during these times of need. Our legislation ensures that surviving spouses will continue to see death benefits, even if they remarry, to help them heal from the trauma of losing their spouse while allowing them to move forward with their life.”

HB24-1139, also sponsored by Representative Ryan Armagost, R-Berthoud, passed by a vote of 56-8. Currently, a surviving spouse may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation death benefits for the rest of their life, but if they remarry, they forfeit the right to these benefits. This bill would ensure lifetime workers’ death benefits for surviving spouses of state employees with high-risk jobs, even if they remarry. 

The bill defines a job with high-risk classification as State Troopers, Colorado Bureau of Investigations officers, corrections officers, community parole officers, state firefighters, port of entry officers, parks and wildlife officers, and CDOT safety and maintenance workers.

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