Illinois Survivor Benefits

Survivor BenefitsUpdated October 2013

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

Pursuant to the Law Enforcement Officers, Civil Defense Workers, Civil Air Patrol Members, Paramedics and Firemen Compensation Act as amended in 1995, for deaths on or after January 1, 2003, the amount shall be the rate for the previous calendar year plus the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index. The 2011 one -time death benefit is $320.165.72. The current figure is valid as of 1/1/2011. This benefit is adjusted for cost of living on January 1 of each year. Allow 4-8 weeks for the benefit to be processed.

As used in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

  • “Fireman” means any person employed by the State or a local governmental entity as, or otherwise serving as, a member or officer of a fire department either for the purpose of the prevention or control of fire or the underwater recovery of drowning victims, including volunteer firemen.
  • “Local governmental entity” includes counties, municipalities and municipal corporations.
  • “State” means the State of Illinois and its departments, divisions, boards, bureaus, commissions, authorities and colleges and universities.
  • “Killed in the line of duty” means losing one’s life as a result of injury received in the active performance of duties as a law enforcement officer, civil defense worker, civil air patrol member, paramedic, fireman, or chaplain if the death occurs within one year from the date the injury was received and if that injury arose from violence or other accidental cause. In the case of a State employee, “killed in the line of duty” means losing one’s life as a result of injury received in the active performance of one’s duties as a State employee, if the death occurs within one year from the date the injury was received and if that injury arose from a willful act of violence by another State employee committed during such other employee’s course of employment and after January 1, 1988. The term excludes death resulting from the willful misconduct or intoxication of the officer, civil defense worker, civil air patrol member, paramedic, fireman, chaplain, or State employee. However, the burden of proof of such willful misconduct or intoxication of the officer, civil defense worker, civil air patrol member, paramedic, fireman, chaplain, or State employee is on the Attorney General. Subject to the conditions set forth in subsection (a) with respect to inclusion under this Act of Department of Corrections and Department of Juvenile Justice employees described in that subsection, for the purposes of this Act, instances in which a law enforcement officer receives an injury in the active performance of duties as a law enforcement officer include but are not limited to instances when:
  • “Volunteer fireman” means a person having principal employment other than as a fireman, but who is carried on the rolls of a regularly constituted fire department either for the purpose of the prevention or control of fire or the underwater recovery of drowning victims, the members of which are under the jurisdiction of the corporate authorities of a city, village, incorporated town, or fire protection district, and includes a volunteer member of a fire department organized under the “General Not for Profit Corporation Act”, approved July 17, 1943, as now or hereafter amended, which is under contract with any city, village, incorporated town, fire protection district, or persons residing therein, for fire fighting services. “Volunteer fireman” does not mean an individual who volunteers assistance without being regularly enrolled as a fireman.
  • “Paramedic” means an Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic certified by the Illinois Department of Public Health under the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act, and all other emergency medical personnel certified by the Illinois Department of Public Health who are members of an organized body or not-for-profit corporation under the jurisdiction of a city, village, incorporated town, fire protection district or county, that provides emergency medical treatment to persons of a defined geographical area.
  • “State employee” means any employee as defined in Section 14-103.05 of the Illinois Pension Code, as now or hereafter amended.
  • “Chaplain” means an individual who: is a chaplain of (i) a fire department or (ii) a police department or other agency consisting of law enforcement officers; and has been designated a chaplain by (i) the fire department, police department, or other agency or an officer or body having jurisdiction over the department or agency or (ii) a labor organization representing the firemen or law enforcement officers.

The surviving beneficiary of any State or local governmental law enforcement or public safety officer who is killed in the line of duty may, within one year, make a claim to the Illinois Court of Claims for the Survivor Compensation.

The benefit is payable to a designated beneficiary as designated by the public safety officer, or if none has been designated to survivors in the following order: (1) spouse, (2) children, (3) parents, (4) siblings or children of siblings. If there are no such persons, no compensation is payable.

An Application for benefits and a Statement of Supervising Officer must be filed with the Court of Claims, 630 South College Street, Springfield, IL 62756, within one year of the date of death. Forms for both the application and statement are available from the Court of Claims Administrative Office (877) 411-2570.

Contact:
Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts
3101 Old Jacksonville Rd
Springfield, IL 62704
Phone: (217) 558-4490
Fax: (217) 785-3905

or

222 N. LaSalle St
13th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Phone: (312) 793-3250
Fax: (312) 793-1335
Website: Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts

Municipalities may also provide a death benefit of up to $15,000.

Contact: Local municipality for further details.

(Reference: Line of Duty Compensation Act – 820 ILCS 315/3)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

All first-aid, medical and hospital expenses connected with fatal injury paid. Benefit of 66 2/3% of deceased’s gross average weekly wage continues until spouse is compensated for 20 years; children attain age 18 and leave school; or when children attain age 23 if attending an accredited educational institution. Payments to spouse end at remarriage with a 2-year lump sum payment.

Volunteer firefighters: Income benefits are based upon the average weekly wage in their regular employment.

Contact:
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission
4500 S. Sixth St. Frontage Road
Springfield, IL 62703-5118
Phone: (217) 785-7087
Toll-Free: (866) 352-3033
Website: www.iwcc.il.gov


FUNERAL BENEFIT

Maximum of $10,000 provided through Workers’ Compensation payable to the surviving spouse or estate of a fallen public safety officer.

Contact:
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission
4500 S. Sixth St. Frontage Road
Springfield, IL 62703-5118
Phone: (217) 785-7087
Toll-Free: (866) 352-3033
Website: www.iwcc.il.gov

Additionally, a burial benefit of up to a maximum of $10,000 is payable to the surviving spouse or estate of a law enforcement officer who is killed in the line of duty on or after January 1, 1999. This benefit is only paid when the family pays for the funeral/burial expenses. It is not paid to municipalities as reimbursement for expenses.

Contact:
Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts
3101 Old Jacksonville Rd
Springfield, IL 62704
Phone: (217) 558-4490
Fax: (217) 785-3905

or

222 N. LaSalle St
13th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Phone: (312) 793-3250
Fax: (312) 793-1335
Website: Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts


RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

Firefighter pensions across Illinois are covered by over 55 different pension plans and many more pension funds. You must check with the municipality where the firefighter was employed. In general, most firefighters are covered in the following manner:

Career firefighters: Firefighter Pension Plans exist in municipalities having at least 5,000 but fewer than 500,000 inhabitants and in any fire protection district with full-time paid firefighters.

Contact:
State Employees Retirement System (SERS)
Michael A. Bilandic Building
160 North LaSalle Street, Suite N725
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 814-5853
Fax: (312) 814-5805

Downstate Firefighters’ Pension Plan provides minimum of 100% of salary on last day the firefighter was employed.

Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Plan. Benefits differ based on years of service. Additional death benefit of $3,000 for any member’s death.

Contact:
Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Plan
2211 York Road, Suite 400
Oak Brook, IL 60523-2337
Phone: (800) 275-4673
Fax: (630) 368-5397
Website: www.imrf.org

» Benefits for Chicago Only

(Reference: Compiled Illinois Statutes Chapter 40 Act 5, Art 6 6-150; 6-151-1 Occupational)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

If a firefighter, law enforcement, or correctional or correctional probation officer is accidentally or unlawfully and intentionally killed as specified in subsection (b) of Section 10 on or after July 1, 1980, the State shall waive certain educational expenses which children of the deceased incur while obtaining a vocational-technical certificate or an undergraduate education at a State supported institution. The amount waived by the State shall be an amount equal to the cost of tuition and matriculation and registration fees for a total of 120 credit hours. The child may attend a State vocational-technical school, a public community college, or a State university. The child may attend any or all of the institutions specified in this Section, on either a full-time or part-time basis. The benefits provided under this Section shall continue to the child until the child’s 25th birthday.

  1. Upon failure of any child benefited by the provisions of this Section to comply with the ordinary and minimum requirements of the institution attended, both as to discipline and scholarship, the benefits shall be withdrawn as to the child and no further moneys may be expended for the child’s benefits so long as the failure or delinquency continues.
  2. Only a student in good standing in his or her respective institution may receive the benefits under this Section.
  3. A child receiving benefits under this Section must be enrolled according to the customary rules and requirements of the institution attended.

Grant Program for Dependents of Police and Fire Officers:

Contact:
Illinois Student Assistance Commission
1755 Lake Cook Rd.
Deerfield, IL 60015-5209
Phone: (800) 899-4722
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.collegeillinois.org

(Reference: 820 Illinois Code 320 Section 15)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Same as for children, except for age restriction. Remarriage ends eligibility

Contact:
Illinois Student Assistance Commission
1755 Lake Cook Rd.
Deerfield, IL 60015-5209
Phone: (800) 899-4722
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.collegeillinois.org

(Reference: 820 Illinois Code 320 Section 15)

NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Scholarships available for children of firefighters who are deceased in, or as a result of, the performance of duty. Application is available on the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Web site at: www.state.il.us/osfm

Contact:
Illinois Firefighters Memorial Foundation
C/0 Timothy S. Clemens, Chairman
188 Industrial Drive, Suite 18A
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Phone: (630) 833-2405

100 Club of East Central Illinois
P.O. Box 404
Watseka, IL 60970
Phone: (815) 473-4404 or (815) 694-2336
Fax: (815) 473-4455

Woodmen of the World will pay a $10,000 fraternal death benefit if a qualified member is killed while performing his or her duties as a non-military first responder. To be eligible for this benefit, an individual must be a member in good standing of one of our other benefits.

First Responders include firefighters, EMT/paramedics, police or a person performing a supporting role to such individuals.

Contact:
Woodmen of the World
Woodmen Tower
1700 Farnham St
Omaha, NE 68102
Phone: (800) 225-3108
Website: www.woodmen.org


COUNTY & LOCAL JURISDICTION BENEFITS


 

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.