Alaska Survivor Benefits

Updated March 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

Workers’ Compensation pays a one-time benefit of $5,000 to surviving spouse and children.

For members covered under the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS): $2,000 life insurance benefit and a $5,000 accidental death benefit.

Contact:

Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Division of Workers’ Compensation

P.O. Box 115512
Juneau, AK 99801-5512
Phone: (907) 465-2790
Toll Free: (877) 783-4980
Fax: (907) 465-2797
Website: labor.alaska.gov/wc/

Contact:

Public Employees’ Retirement System
Alaska Department of Administration
Division of Retirement and Benefits

P.O. Box 11023
Juneau, AK 99811-0203
Phone: (907) 465-4460 or
Toll Free: (800) 821-2251
Fax: 907-465-3086
Website: doa.alaska.gov/drb/pers


WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Career firefighters: For surviving spouse with no children, benefit is equal to 80% of the employee’s spendable weekly wage (gross less federal income and social security taxes). For surviving spouse with one child, 90% of the employee’s spendable weekly wage. For spouse with two or more children, 100% of the spendable weekly wage. For no spouse and one or more children, 100% of the employee’s spendable weekly wage. Wages are subject to the minimum and maximum benefit caps, which are set by the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board each year. Upon remarriage spouse receives two-year lump sum and benefits terminate. Benefits to spouse end 10 years after firefighter’s death unless spouse has reached age 52 or is permanently and totally disabled. Children eligible until age 19 or married; full-time students receive benefits regardless of age, for first four years following the firefighter’s death.

Volunteer firefighters: A political subdivision may elect to provide benefits and compensation to its volunteer firefighters. It must obtain insurance that would provide benefits and compensation at least equivalent to those provided by the state. If a volunteer firefighter is injured in the line of duty, the computation shall be based on the minimum gross weekly earnings paid a fulltime firefighter employed in the political subdivision where the injury occurred or other similar formula. It must be equal to or greater than the minimum wage computed on the basis of a 40-hour week.

Compensation for death or disability of firefighters from occupational diseases

There is a presumption that a claim for compensation of disability as a result of the following diseases is within the workers‘ compensation provision: brain cancer, malignant melanoma, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder cancer, ureter cancer, kidney cancer and prostate cancer.

Contact:

Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Division of Workers’ Compensation

P.O. Box 115512
Juneau, AK 99801-5512
Phone: (907) 465-2790
Toll Free: (877) 783-4980
Fax: (907) 465-2797
Website: labor.alaska.gov/wc/

(Reference: Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act, AK Statutes 23-30-215; See also Workers’ Comp Bulletin 09-02, Death Benefits 2009)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Maximum of $10,000 for burial expenses. Spouse and/or children also get a lump sum of $5,000.

Contact:

Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Division of Workers’ Compensation

P.O. Box 115512
Juneau, AK 99801-5512
Phone: (907) 465-2790
Toll Free: (877) 783-4980
Fax: (907) 465-2797
Website: labor.alaska.gov/wc/

Health Insurance Extension

As of June, 2017, health insurance benefits are extended to family member survivors of peace officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. The state of Alaska (along with cost-sharing among municipalities) will pay 100% of the premiums. Health insurance must be extended at the same level as when the peace officer or firefighter was killed.

Coverage will spouse will cease when other insurance is obtained, such as Medicare at age 65. Adult children will lose coverage at age 26 or they obtain coverage by other means.

Contact:

Alaska Department of Public Safety
Division of Administrative Services

5700 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99507
Phone: (907) 269-5511
Fax: (907) 333-7008


RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

PERS Peace Officer/Firefighter Plan
Occupational Death Benefits

Members of PERS who die from occupational causes: The eligible survivor receives a monthly pension. It is the greater of 50% of the gross salary or 75% of the normal retirement benefit the member would have received at retirement. The member does not have to be vested to qualify for occupational death benefits. The spouse is automatically the designated beneficiary. If there is no eligible spouse, children equally divide the pension.

Major medical insurance coverage is available to survivors who are receiving monthly PERS benefits and their dependents. This coverage ends when the benefit recipient dies or is no longer eligible to receive monthly PERS benefits.

For reliable information on Alaska death benefits for public employees see the PERS handbook, pages 13-17.

Contact:

Public Employees’ Retirement System
Alaska Department of Administration
Division of Retirement and Benefits

P.O. Box 11023
Juneau, AK 99811-0203
Phone: (907) 465-4460 or
Toll Free: (800) 821-2251
Website: doa.alaska.gov.drb/pers


EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

Provides tuition and fees to institutions in the University of Alaska system. Does not cover room, board and books. Maximum 5 years benefit. Benefit includes stepchildren.

Also contact the business office at the specific campus of attendance within the University system.

Contact:

The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education
3030 Vintage Blvd.
Juneau, AK 99801-7100
Phone: (907) 441-2962
Toll Free: (800) 441-2962
Website: acpe.alaska.gov


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Provides tuition and fees to institutions in the University of Alaska system. Does not cover room, board and books. Benefit does not cease with remarriage. Maximum 5 years benefit.

Also contact the business office at the specific campus of attendance within the University system.

Contact:

The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education
3030 Vintage Blvd.
Juneau, AK 99801-7100
Phone: (907) 441-2962
Toll Free: (800) 441-2962
Website: acpe.alaska.gov


NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Alaska State Firefighters Association

P.O. Box 226
Unalaska, AK 99685
Phone: (907) 359-2246 or (907)-723-4094
Website: alaskastatefirefighters.org
The ASFA pays for its members to have a $10,000 Accidental Death & Dismemberment policy. Volunteer firefighters and emergency responders are covered by the AD&D policy while performing any activity of their organizations and when they are off-duty.

The International Association of Fire Fighters

1750 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Website: client.prod.iaff.org/#contentid=1743

The W. H. “Howie” McClennan scholarship provides financial assistance for sons, daughters or legally adopted children of IAFF Union Members killed in the line of duty planning to attend a university, accredited college or other institution of higher learning. Scholarship amount is $2,500 per year, renewable up to 4 consecutive years.


FUNERAL AND CREMATION BENEFITS

Dignity Memorial

Phone: (800) 343-4464
Website: www.dignitymemorial.com

Dignity Memorial is a consortium of funeral, cremation and cemetery providers across the United States and Canada. They have a Public Servants Program for first responders and emergency services workers. Dignity provides these services, at no cost, for career and volunteer firefighters who are killed in the line of duty. There is a location finder per state on the website, and funeral directors are encouraged to contact Dignity regarding the first responder program.

Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc.

2913 Gardner Road
Broadview, IL 50155
Phone: 708-681-7040 (Terry Whitlock)
Website: www.wilbert.com

Wilbert provides complimentary burial vaults (including urns vaults) for fallen law enforcement officers and firefighters through 193 licensee locations. Funeral directors should contact Wilbert for information on obtaining vaults.


Disclaimer: The material contained in the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Survivor Benefits website is not the result of legal research, but rather is based on a scan of public documents. We have made every effort to be accurate and timely, but errors may exist. The material on this website is advisory only and should not be cited as evidence or proof that a benefit exists or that our facts are accurate. Always consult the decedent’s fire department for benefits assistance, or a benefits’ attorney. If, in the course of your own research, you see errors of fact, or new benefit information, please pass this information along to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.