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Bipartisan law expands no premium health care to survivors of fallen state workers

Last updated on May 1, 2022

Families of fallen Illinois state workers can now have access to their loved one’s insurance with no premium costs.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bipartisan measure Friday.

“There is no higher calling than the work to protect our most vulnerable children,” said Pritzker. “Deidre Silas was a distinguished public servant who devoted her life to that mission, and we miss her terribly. It is in her honor that we take action to expand health insurance coverage to survivors of tragedy and create a safer environment for those who do the crucial work of protecting our young people.”

In January, Silas was stabbed to death while responding to a child welfare call south of Springfield. Lawmakers unanimously approved Senate Bill 3197 in the final weeks of the spring session.

“In response to the fatal stabbing of Deidre Silas, we must ensure the families of those who serve our most vulnerable populations are cared for,” state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, said in a joint statement. “Ms. Silas died as a dedicated public servant, and this is the least we can do to honor her commitment to our state.”

Silas’ survivors were not eligible for survivor benefits, the governor’s office said, because she had five months of creditable service with the Department of Children and Family Services, one month short of the six-months vesting requirement. The 36-year-old is one of several victims of acts of violence against child welfare workers.

“Pamela Knight and Deidra Silas gave their lives trying to protect small children, and while we cannot get their lives back, we can make sure their family has the means to take care of themselves,” said state Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna. “That is why I was proud to lead the effort to pass SB3197 through the House. This legislation will ensure that survivors of State employees killed in the line of duty will be eligible for group health insurance regardless of their vested status.”

Knight, 59, died after a brutal beating while attempting to remove a child from a home in Carroll County in 2017.

This article was originally posted on Bipartisan law expands no premium health care to survivors of fallen state workers

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