Presumptive Disability Law in Texas

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CODE PART:
Texas Statutes
Government Code
TITLE 6. PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
CHAPTER 607. BENEFITS RELATING TO CERTAIN DISEASES AND ILLNESSES
SECTION 607.051. DEFINITIONS
Sec. 607.052. APPLICABILITY
Sec. 607.053. IMMUNIZATION; SMALLPOX.
Sec. 607.054. TUBERCULOSIS OR OTHER RESPIRATORY ILLNESS.
Sec. 607.056. ACUTE MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION OR STROKE.
Sec. 607.057. EFFECT OF PRESUMPTION
Sec. 607.058. PRESUMPTION REBUTTABLE.
Texas Legislative Website
DESCRIPTION:
Sec. 607.052.
APPLICABILITY
  1. Notwithstanding any other law, this subchapter applies only to a fire fighter or emergency medical technician who:
    1. on becoming employed or during employment as a fire fighter or emergency medical technician, received a physical examination that failed to reveal evidence of the illness or disease for which benefits or compensation are sought using a presumption established by this subchapter;
    2. is employed for five or more years as a fire fighter or emergency medical technician; and
    3. seeks benefits or compensation for a disease or illness covered by this subchapter that is discovered during employment as a fire fighter or emergency medical technician.
  2. A presumption under this subchapter does not apply:
    1. to a determination of a survivor's eligibility for benefits under Chapter 615;
    2. in a cause of action brought in a state or federal court except for judicial review of a proceeding in which there has been a grant or denial of employment-related benefits or compensation;
    3. to a determination regarding benefits or compensation under a life or disability insurance policy purchased by or on behalf of the fire fighter or emergency medical technician that provides coverage in addition to any benefits or compensation required by law; or
    4. if the disease or illness for which benefits or compensation is sought is known to be caused by the use of tobacco and:
      1. the fire fighter or emergency medical technician is or has been a user of tobacco; or
      2. the fire fighter's or emergency medical technician's spouse has, during the marriage, been a user of tobacco that is consumed through smoking.
  3. This subchapter does not create a cause of action.
  4. This subchapter does not enlarge or establish a right to any benefit or compensation or eligibility for any benefit or compensation.
  5. A fire fighter or emergency medical technician who uses a presumption established under this subchapter is entitled only to the benefits or compensation to which the fire fighter or emergency medical technician would otherwise be entitled to receive at the time the claim for benefits or compensation is filed.
  6. For purposes of this subchapter, an individual described by Section 607.051(3)(B) is considered to have been employed or compensated while the individual actively served as a volunteer fire fighter. An individual who actively serves as a volunteer fire fighter is one who participates in a minimum of 40 percent of the drills conducted by the individual's department and 25 percent of the fire or other emergency calls received by the department during the time that the volunteer fire fighter is on call.
  7. This subchapter applies to a fire fighter or emergency medical technician who provides services as an employee of an entity created by an interlocal agreement.
  8. Subsection (b)(4) only prevents the application of the presumption authorized by this subchapter and does not affect the right of a fire fighter or emergency medical technician to provide proof, without the use of that presumption, that an injury or illness occurred during the course and scope of employment.
Sec. 607.053.
IMMUNIZATION; SMALLPOX.
  1. A fire fighter or emergency medical technician is presumed to have suffered a disability or death during the course and scope of employment if the fire fighter or emergency medical technician:
    1. received preventative immunization against smallpox, or another disease to which the fire fighter or emergency medical technician may be exposed during the course and scope of employment and for which immunization is possible; and
    2. suffered death or total or partial disability as a result of the immunization.
  2. An immunization described by this section is considered preventative whether the immunization occurs before or after exposure to the disease for which the immunization is prescribed.
  3. A presumption established under Subsection (a) may not be rebutted by evidence that the immunization was:
    1. not required by the employer;
    2. not required by law; or
    3. received voluntarily or with the consent of the fire fighter or emergency medical technician.
  4. A fire fighter or emergency medical technician who suffers from smallpox that results in death or total or partial disability is presumed to have contracted the disease during the course and scope of employment as a fire fighter or emergency medical technician.
Sec. 607.054.
TUBERCULOSIS OR OTHER RESPIRATORY ILLNESS.
A fire fighter or emergency medical technician who suffers from tuberculosis, or any other disease or illness of the lungs or respiratory tract that has a statistically positive correlation with service as a fire fighter or emergency medical technician, that results in death or total or partial disability is presumed to have contracted the disease or illness during the course and scope of employment as a fire fighter or emergency medical technician.

Sec. 607.055.
CANCER.
  1. A fire fighter or emergency medical technician who suffers from cancer resulting in death or total or partial disability is presumed to have developed the cancer during the course and scope of employment as a fire fighter or emergency medical technician if:
    1. the fire fighter or emergency medical technician:
      1. regularly responded on the scene to calls involving fires or fire fighting; or
      2. regularly responded to an event involving the documented release of radiation or a known or suspected carcinogen while the person was employed as a fire fighter or emergency medical technician; and
    2. the cancer is known to be associated with fire fighting or exposure to heat, smoke, radiation, or a known or suspected carcinogen, as described by Subsection (b).
  2. This section applies only to a type of cancer that may be caused by exposure to heat, smoke, radiation, or a known or suspected carcinogen as determined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Sec. 607.056.
ACUTE MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION OR STROKE.
  1. A fire fighter or emergency medical technician who suffers an acute myocardial infarction or stroke resulting in disability or death is presumed to have suffered the disability or death during the course and scope of employment as a fire fighter or emergency medical technician if:
    1. while on duty, the fire fighter or emergency medical technician:
      1. was engaged in a situation that involved nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical activity involving fire suppression, rescue, hazardous material response, emergency medical services, or other emergency response activity; or
      2. participated in a training exercise that involved nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical activity; and
    2. the acute myocardial infarction or stroke occurred while the fire fighter or emergency medical technician was engaging in the activity described under Subdivision (1).
  2. For purposes of this section, "nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical activity" does not include clerical, administrative, or nonmanual activities.
Sec. 607.057.
EFFECT OF PRESUMPTION.

Except as provided by Section 607.052(b), a presumption established under this subchapter applies to a determination of whether a fire fighter's or emergency medical technician's disability or death resulted from a disease or illness contracted in the course and scope of employment for purposes of benefits or compensation provided under another employee benefit, law, or plan, including a pension plan.

Sec. 607.058.
PRESUMPTION REBUTTABLE.

A presumption under Section 607.053, 607.054, 607.055, or 607.056 may be rebutted through a showing by a preponderance of the evidence that a risk factor, accident, hazard, or other cause not associated with the individual's service as a fire fighter or emergency medical technician caused the individual's disease or illness.