AB 1035 was signed into law by Governor Brown on May 13, 2014, and goes into effect January 1, 2015. It adds Labor Code section 5406.7 and provides that dependents of firefighters and police officers who die as a result of cancer (Labor Code § 3212.1), MRSA and other blood-borne illnesses (Labor Code § 3212.8), or TB (Labor Code § 3212.6), may request workers' compensation death benefits up to 420 months from the date of injury, but not more than one year from the date of death. This is an increase from 240 hours, the previous limit. This extension does not apply to any case that has been adjudicated or where the existing commencement period lapsed on or before December 31, 2014.
AB 1035 also declares the intent to the Legislature to study whether this extended statute of limitation provides sufficient time for families of fallen firefighters or peace officers to file for workers' compensation death benefits. The extended statute of limitation will sunset on January 1, 2019, unless extended or deleted.
The Commission on Health & Safety and Workers' Compensation estimated that this extension of time may cost cities and counties between $4.25 and $5 million and affect approximately 20 firefighters and peace officers statewide.