Two months ago Officer Kendle Blackburn was hailed as a hero throughout the state after he died following a long battle with COVID-19, but on Friday, the City of Lebanon learned that the city’s workers’ compensation insurance provider was denying benefits to his family.
Missouri Employers Mutual notified the city on Friday that it had determined that his COVID-19 related death on Dec. 28, 2020, was not compensable under workers’ compensation. As it is not considered a “in the line of duty” death, Blackburn’s family is being denied additional benefits, including funeral expenses up to $5,000 and a weekly death benefit pay based on a percentage of the deceased’s average pay. The City of Lebanon vowed to continue to work “to ensure Officer Blackburn’s family receives the benefits they deserve” in a statement to the media.
“We are extremely disappointed in Missouri Employers Mutual decision to not classify Officer Blackburn’s death as a ‘Line of Duty” death,” said Mayor Jared Carr in a press release.
For more on this story see Saturday's LCR.