SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Act-of-Duty Bill on Wednesday, providing disability benefits to Chicago first responders who were unable to serve after contracting COVID-19 between March 9th, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

The bill amends part of the Illinois Pension Code; establishing that Chicago firemen and policemen disabled due to COVID-19 were injured in the line of duty and therefore entitled to receive full Duty Disability benefits.

Chicago’s police disability board had adopted a policy of giving ordinary disability benefits. While Duty Disability entitles recipients to 75% of their salary, ordinary disability only entitles recipients to 50%.

The Act-of-Duty Bill places Chicago first responders on even ground with other first responders in the state, who were entitled to Duty Disability benefits under Illinois’ workers’ compensation law. Chicago police and firefighters have a separate disability system and are not covered under state laws.

The bill was spearheaded by Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza, whose brother, Chicago Police Sergeant Joaquin Mendoza, was left permanently disabled after contracting COVID-19.