There are certain presumptions that apply only to certain public safety personnel. These presumptions include:

Heart Law

  • What is the Heart Law and to whom does it apply?

    Under a special provision of state law, disability caused by heart disease or hypertension is presumed to be suffered in the line of duty for any employee who is: a uniformed member of a paid fire department or permanent member of a police department, or the state police, or of the public works building police, or any employee in the department of correction or a county correctional facility whose regular or incidental duties require the care, supervision, or custody of prisoners, criminally insane persons, or defective delinquents, or any permanent crash crewman, crash boatman, fire controlman, or assistant fire controlman employed at the General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport or members of the Massachusetts military reservation fire department.

    Any such employee must have successfully passed a physical examination on or after the date of hire, which failed to reveal any evidence of such condition.

    A retirement board is required to presume that the heart disease or hypertension was caused by the job, unless the contrary can be shown by competent evidence. The employee must become incapacitated by the condition while still a member-in-service.

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Lung Law

  • What is the Lung Law and to whom does it apply?

    Any impairment of health which is caused by disease of the lungs or respiratory tract in uniformed members of a paid fire department, or any permanent crash crewman, crash boatman, fire controlman, or assistant fire controlman employed at the General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport, or a member of the Massachusetts military reservation fire department, shall be presumed to have been suffered in the line of duty as a result of the inhalation of noxious fumes or poisonous gas, unless it is found that there is competent evidence to the contrary. Such individuals must have successfully passed a physical examination on or after their date of hire, which failed to reveal any evidence of such condition. The employee must become incapacitated by the condition while still a member-in-service.

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Cancer Presumption

  • What is the Cancer Presumption?

    Any condition of cancer affecting the skin or the central nervous, lymphatic, digestive, hematological, urinary, skeletal, oral, or prostate systems, or lung or respiratory tract, resulting in total disability or death shall be presumed to have been suffered in the line of duty, unless it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that non-service connected risk factors or non-service connected accidents or hazards undergone, or any combination thereof, caused such incapacity.
  • To whom does the Cancer Presumption apply?

    It applies to uniformed members of a paid fire department, or a member of the state police assigned to the fire investigation unit of the department of fire services, or a member of the state police K-9 unit or permanent crash crewman, crash boatmen, fire controlmen, or assistant fire controlmen employed at the General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport or members of the Massachusetts military reservation fire department. To be eligible, a person must have been actively employed in one of the above named positions on or after July 5, 1990 (effective date of the Cancer Presumption legislation), and must establish that he or she has regularly responded to calls of fire during some portion of his or her service, and must have served for not fewer than five years at the time such condition is first discovered, or should have been discovered. Such individuals must have successfully passed a physical examination on or after their date of hire, which failed to reveal any evidence of such condition. Individuals who first discover such cancer within five years of the last date of his or her active service are also eligible to apply for benefits.
  • How is the Cancer Presumption applied?

    It shall only apply if the disabling or fatal condition is a type of cancer which may, in general, result from exposure to heat, radiation, or a known or suspected carcinogen as determined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The presumption will also apply to any condition of cancer (other than those listed in the response to the question above) which may, in general, result from exposure to heat or radiation or to a known or suspected carcinogen as determined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the incidence of which is found by regulation by the Commissioner of Public Health to have a statistically significant correlation with fire service.

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Health and Fitness Standards

Chapter 31 of the Acts of 1987 directs the Commonwealth's Personnel Administrator to establish initial and in-service health and physical fitness standards for police officers and firefighters. These standards are applicable to police officers and firefighters who are appointed after November 1, 1996, and who are working in cities and towns that accept the applicable provisions of Chapter 31. Please contact the Commonwealth's Human Resources Division for further information about their implementation.

  • Is a police officer or firefighter considered disabled if he or she fails to pass such an in-service examination?

    No, failure to pass such an examination does not create a presumption of disability for pension purposes.

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