Families could be denied death benefits for unvaccinated loved ones: Report

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is denying $500,000 death benefits to the families of the unvaccinated subway, bus and commuter workers.

Updated: November 3, 2021 - 8:56pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Families of unvaccinated workers may not receive death benefits if the person dies of COVID-19, says Kaiser Health News.

In an article on its website, KHN said the New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is denying $500,000 death benefits to the families of the unvaccinated subway, bus and commuter workers.

"It strikes me as needlessly cruel," lawyer Mark DeBofsky, who represents workers in benefit disputes, told CNN.

Other employers are are considering the federal vaccine mandate as justification for denying potential death benefits, or insurance claims based on someone's vaccination status.

"There's a frustration level, particularly at this point when these vaccines are fully approved," said the president of the Council for Disability Awareness, Carol Harnett. "You’re trying to protect yourselves and your employees, both from themselves and the general public."

According to NYMTA, approximately five workers have died as a result of COVID since June 1, when the company's vaccine policy changed.

"We are not aware they have been vaccinated," said an MTA spokesperson.

New York's MTA is the largest company to announce its policy change concerning death and insurance benefits.

The company's policy change comes after MTA has struggled with increasing vaccination rates, which haven't surpassed 70% among its workers.

MTA's death benefits are on top of any other life insurance policy an employee may have. The program is an extension of another death benefits program which provides a lump sum to any person who dies on the job.