Alabama Survivor Benefits

Updated March 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

Benefit of $100,000 established by low with yearly adjustment. FY 2017-2018 benefit is $116,817 if death is accidental, deliberate, or a result of injuries received in the performance of duties. Death and disability payments for heart attacks and strokes caused by participating in emergency situations are covered. Presumptive cancers are covered (see below).

Spouse does not receive benefit if voluntarily living apart from firefighter at time of death or if firefighter did not contribute to spouse’s support for more than 12 months preceding the injury that led to death. Otherwise, spouse receives death benefit. If no eligible spouse or children, other relatives may also be eligible to receive benefit if they regularly derived part of their support from the deceased at time of death. If there are no dependents or partial dependents, the parents are eligible for the benefit.

  • Delayed death, up to 10 years, qualifies for benefit. Application must be filed within a year from date of death.
  • Volunteers also eligible for total disability compensation of $100,000. Includes Alabama Forest Commission firefighters.
  • Survivors of Alabama merit system firefighters who are state employees are eligible for a benefit consisting of the firefighter’s previous year’s salary plus what has accumulated in his/her retirement account.
  • Death benefit payments received by beneficiaries of firefighters killed in the line-of-duty are exempt from paying state income tax.
  • Crime of murder included the death of a firefighter who dies while performing his or her duties as the consequence of the crime of arson.
(Reference Alabama code SS 36-30-2)

Contact:

Alabama State Board of Adjustment
State Department of Finance

Alabama State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue, Suite E 302
Montgomery, AL 36130
Phone: (334) 242-7175
Fax: (334)-242-2008
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: bdadj.alabama.gov


COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

Signed into law in 2016, there is compensation for death or disability of firefighters from occupational diseases.

Occupational diseases are defined as any condition or impairment of health caused by any of the following:

  1. Hypertension.
  2. Heart disease.
  3. Respiratory disease.
  4. Cancer which manifests itself in a firefighter during the period in which the firefighter is in the service of the city, provided the firefighter demonstrates that he or she was exposed, while in the employ of the city, to a known carcinogen which is reasonably linked to the disabling cancer, and the cancer shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of the firefighter’s employment unless the city demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that the cancer was caused by some other means.
  5. AIDS which manifests itself in a firefighter during the period in which the firefighter is in the service of the city, provided the firefighter demonstrates that he or she was exposed to AIDS while in the line and scope of his or her employment with the city.
  6. Hepatitis which manifests itself in a firefighter during the period in which the firefighter is in the service of the city, provided the firefighter demonstrates that he or she was exposed to hepatitis while in the line and scope of his or her employment with the city.

The benefit in this section shall apply firefighters who, upon entering the service of the city as firefighters, have successfully passed a physical examination which failed to reveal any evidence of a firefighter’s occupational disease and who have completed at least three years’ service as firefighters.

If a physical examination was not required at the time of entry into service, a firefighter who has completed at least three years’ continuous service as a firefighter next preceding September 8, 1967, shall be deemed eligible for benefits under this section.

(c) If a firefighter who qualifies for benefits under this section suffers disability as a result of a firefighter’s occupational disease his or her disability shall be compensable the same as any service-connected disability under any law which provides benefits for firefighters of the city injured in the line of duty. If a firefighter who qualifies for benefits under this section dies as the result of a firefighter’s occupational disease, his or her death shall be compensable to the same extent as the death of a firefighter killed in the line of duty, and shall be considered to have been killed in the line of duty for purposes of Sections 36-30-1 to 36-30-7, inclusive.

(d) In the case of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and respiratory disease, the municipality must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the condition was caused by some means other than the occupation to disqualify the firefighter from benefits.

(Reference Alabama Code 11-43-144)

Contact:

Alabama State Board of Adjustment
State Department of Finance

Alabama State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue, Suite E 302
Montgomery, AL 36130
Phone: (334) 242-7175
Fax: (334)-242-2008
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: bdadj.alabama.gov

Alabama Firefighters’ Annuity and Benefit Fund

The Alabama Fire Service has an Annuity and Benefit Fund for Alabama fire service worker. Any firefighter who is actively serving a department in the state of Alabama may join the fund and may remain a member as long as they continue to serve. The fund provides retirement, disability, and death benefits to its members. There is a fee of $20.00 to establish participation in the fund and a monthly charge until the period specified by the law is met. Twenty-five years of qualified service is required for full benefit.

Contact:

Alabama Firefighters’ Annuity and Benefit Fund
P.O. Box 71210
Tuscaloosa, AL 35407

Office Location: Alabama Fire College
Room 221

Phone: (855)531-3718


WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Career firefighters: Benefit to one dependent is 50% of average weekly wage; benefit to two or more dependents is 66 2/3%. Benefits have a weekly minimum and maximum. Benefits payable for 500 weeks following line-of-duty death. Ceases upon remarriage of dependent.

Volunteer firefighters: Coverage for volunteer firefighters is not mandated. Local jurisdictions may elect to provide coverage. Contact volunteer’s employer to see if workers’ compensation insurance was in effect.

Contact:

Alabama Department of Labor
Workers’ Compensation Division

649 Monroe Street
Montgomery, AL 36131
Phone: (334) 956-4044
Toll Free: (800) 528-5166
Website: dir.alabama.gov/wc/

((Reference: AL-WC Act 25-5-60))

FUNERAL BENEFIT

A maximum of $3,000 is available for burial expenses.

Contact:

Alabama Department of Labor
Workers’ Compensation Division

649 Monroe Street
Montgomery, AL 36131
Phone: (334) 956-4044
Toll Free: (800) 528-5166
Website: dir.alabama.gov/wc/

Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments provides an Honor Guard to conduct funeral ceremonies that provide a fitting tribute to fallen members of the volunteer fire service.


RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

Career firefighters: The Retirement System of Alabama is a defined benefit plan. If a member dies prior to retirement, death benefits are calculated and paid to the beneficiary(s) based on the member’s age, service credit, employment status and eligibility for retirement. The pre-retirement benefits the beneficiary(s) or estate will receive are outlined on page 12 of the ERS Employee Handbook. Generally, the benefit is the member’s contribution, total interest earned, plus an amount equal to the member’s salary for the prior fiscal year (October 1- Sept 30).

» View the ERS, Tier 1 Handbook (Members prior to January 1, 2013)

» View the ERS, Tier 2 Handbook (Members after January 1, 2013)

Contact:

The Retirement Systems of Alabama
201 South Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
Phone: (334) 517-7000
Toll Free: (877) 517-0020
Website: www.rsa-al.gov

(Reference: AL Retirement System Handbook, Page 12-17; Code of Alabama 1976, Title 36, Chapter 27)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

Covers tuition, fees, books and supplies. No limit on the amount awarded for undergraduate study at any state college, state community college, or state technical college, except it may not exceed the cost of attendance. Survivor must have been under 21 years of age at the time of the firefighter’s death. Other special eligibility criteria may apply.

Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments awards two $1,000 scholarships each year to four AAVFD members volunteer firefighters, their spouse, or dependent children.

Contact:

Alabama Commission on Higher Education
P.O. Box 302000
100 North Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130-3758
Phone: (334) 242-1998
Fax: (334)-242-0268
Website: www.ache.state.al.us/StudentAsst/Programs.htm


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Similar benefits apply to eligible spouses. Spouse must not have remarried and must begin enrollment within five years of firefighter’s death.

Contact:

Alabama Commission on Higher Education
P.O. Box 302000
100 North Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130-3758
Phone: (334) 242-1998
Fax: (334)-242-0268
Website: www.ache.state.al.us/StudentAsst/Programs.htm


NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments

660 Adams Avenue, Suite 345
Montgomery, AL 36104
Phone: (888) 97-AAVFD or (334) 262-2833
Website: www.aavfd.org
Provides an Accidental Death and Dismemberment policy for members. Contact the AAVFD to check for eligibility.

Alabama Firefighters Association

P.O. Box 524
Trussville, AL 35173
Phone: (205) 482-6584
E-Mail: [email protected]
Website: www.alfire.com

Provides a one-time $1,000 award to the dependents of full time professional firefighters. Assistance is also provided to obtain state benefits. Members are provided with a one-time accidental death or dismemberment payment of $15,000 based on an insurance policy purchased upon membership. This applies to career, volunteer and forestry members.

Kids’ Chance – Alabama Law Foundation, Inc.

P.O. Box 671
Montgomery AL 36101
Phone: (334) 269-1515
Website: www.alfinc.org/contact.cfm
Provides college scholarships to any worker in the state of Alabama who is killed or permanently disabled. Awards range from $500 to $2,500.

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 & 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.