February 14, 2022

Wyden, Senators Urge U.S. Labor Department to Process Firefighter Injury Claims Faster

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today joined with U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and a bipartisan group of senators calling on the Labor Department to expedite the creation of a special claims unit to handle firefighter compensation claims in advance of the 2022 wildfire season in Oregon and nationwide.

“Federal wildland firefighters have recently reported difficulty getting their medical treatment costs for work-related injuries covered by the government within a reasonable timeframe,” the senators wrote in a letter to Christopher Godfrey, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. “This is simply unacceptable – these firefighters put their lives at risk to defend American lives and property, and they deserve our support.”

The lawmakers continued, “Your commitment to establish a special claims handling unit is an excellent first step to remedying this situation; we urge you to follow through expeditiously and to focus on handling the claims of both federal wildland firefighters and structural firefighters.”

In addition to Wyden, the letter led by Feinstein was signed by U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Full text of the letter is here.