Minnesota Survivor Benefits

Updated November 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

A one-time payment of $166,664.80 will be given to the spouse, dependent children, or dependent parents of any career or volunteer firefighter based on the following:

  1. If there is no dependent child, to the spouse.
  2. If there is no spouse, to the dependent child or children in equal shares.
  3. f there are both a spouse and one or more dependent children, one-half to the spouse and one-half to the child or children, in equal shares.
  4. If there is no surviving spouse or dependent child or children, to the parent or parents dependent for support on the decedent, in equal shares.

If there is no surviving spouse, dependent child, or dependent parent, the payment will be made to the firefighter’s estate. The value of this payment is adjusted yearly with regards to the change in the Consumer Price Index. The payment amount listed above is for the period of October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019. Please check with the commissioner’s office for figures for LODDs that fall outside this period.

Contact:

Commissioner’s Office
Minnesota Department of Public Safety

445 Minnesota Street
Saint Paul, MN 55101-5155
Phone: (651) 201-7160
E-mail: dps.commissioners@state.mn.us
Website: dps.mn.gov/divisions/co/programs/public-safety-officer-benefit-program/

(Reference: 2018 Minnesota Statutes, Section 299A.44)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

A spouse with no dependent children is entitled to a weekly payment equal to 50% of the weekly wage at the time of the injury for a period of 10 years.

A spouse and one dependent child are entitled to a weekly payment equal to 60% of the weekly wage at the time of the injury until the child is no longer a dependent. After that, for a period of 10 years the spouse is entitled a weekly payment 16-2/3% less than the final weekly workers’ compensation benefit payment while the child was a dependent.

A spouse and one dependent child are entitled to a weekly payment equal to 66-2/3% of the weekly wage at the time of the injury until the last child is no longer a dependent. After that, for a period of 10 years the spouse is entitled a weekly payment 25% less than the final weekly workers’ compensation benefit payment while the child was a dependent.

If the deceased employee leaves a dependent orphan, there shall be paid 55% of the weekly wage. For two or more orphans there shall be paid 66-2/3%.
If the deceased leaves no surviving spouse or child entitled to payment but leaves both parents wholly dependent on the deceased, the parents shall be paid 45% of the weekly wage. In case of the death of either of the wholly dependent parents, or if the deceased leaves only one dependent parent, the survivor shall receive 35% of the weekly wage thereafter. If the deceased leaves one grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, mother-in-law, or father-in-law wholly dependent, there shall be paid 30% of the weekly wage. If two or more, 35%, divided equally among them.

Remarriage has no effect on the spouse’s eligibility to receive these payments.

The minimum amount of dependency compensation that must be paid is $60,000.

As a Cost Of Living Adjustment, these payments shall be increased by 0 to 3% annually on the date of injury causing death, starting 3 years after the injury that caused death.

The combined total of weekly government survivor benefits and workers’ compensation death benefits provided shall not exceed 100% of the weekly wage being earned by the deceased at the time of the injury causing death. If weekly government survivor benefits alone exceed 100% of the weekly wage no state workers’ compensation death benefit shall be paid while the weekly government survivor benefits remain unchanged.

Contact:

Workers’ Compensation Division
Department of Labor and Industry

443 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: (651) 284-5032 (St. Paul)
Phone: 218-733-7810 (Duluth)
Toll Free: (800) 342-5354
E-mail: dli.workcomp@state.mn.us
Website: www.dli.mn.gov/business/workers-compensation/work-comp-benefits-general-information

(Reference: 2018 Minnesota Statutes, Sections 176.111, 176.645)

COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

A firefighter on active duty who is unable to perform duties in the department by reason of a disabling cancer of a type caused by exposure to heat, radiation, or a known or suspected carcinogen, as defined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the carcinogen is reasonably linked to the disabling cancer, is presumed to have an occupational disease. This does not apply if a firefighter’s physical examination upon entry to the service discloses such a cancer.

Myocarditis, coronary sclerosis, pneumonia, and infectious or communicable diseases (if the firefighter provides emergency medical care) are also considered an occupational disease for firefighters.

The compensation for an occupational disease is 66-2/3% of the employee’s weekly wage on the date of injury subject to a maximum compensation equal to the maximum compensation in effect on the date of last exposure.

(Reference: 2018 Minnesota Statutes, Sections 176.011, 176.66)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Both paid and volunteer firefighters are entitled to have their burial expenses paid for by their employer, up to $15,000.

Contact:

Workers’ Compensation Division
Department of Labor and Industry

443 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: (651) 284-5032 (St. Paul)
Phone: 218-733-7810 (Duluth)
Toll Free: (800) 342-5354
E-mail: dli.workcomp@state.mn.us
Website: www.dli.mn.gov/business/workers-compensation/work-comp-benefits-general-information

(Reference: 2018 Minnesota Statutes, Section 176.111, subd. 18)

RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

Call/Volunteer Firefighters:
Under the “Statewide Volunteer Firefighter Retirement Plan”, any municipality or independent nonprofit firefighting corporation may elect to have its volunteer firefighters covered by either a lump-sum retirement scheme or a monthly benefit retirement scheme. Please contact your local municipal government or fire department for the specifics of the pension plan, and PERA for questions on how this pension is calculated and administered.
Career Firefighters:
All career firefighters in Minnesota are covered under the “Police & Fire Plan” policy. Based on the firefighter’s age, presence of child dependents, vested status, and length of service, the family of the fallen firefighter is entitled to 60-80% of the firefighter’s average full-time monthly base salary rate in effect during the last six months of service.

Contact:

Public Employees Retirement Association
60 Empire Drive, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55103-2088
Phone: (651) 296-7460
Toll Free: (800) 652-9026
Fax: (651) 297-2547
E-mail: Benefits@mnpera.org
Website: www.mnpera.org/plan-information/police-fire-plan/

(Reference: 2018 Minnesota Statutes, Sections 353.657, 424A.016)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

Minnesota offers the “Public Safety Officer’s Survivor Grant Program” to the survivors of fallen firefighters. The amount offered in this grant is the lesser of the average tuition and fees charged by the specific institution of higher education, or the tuition maximums established by law for the state grant program.

As of November 2018, the “tuition maximums established by law” are roughly $7,000/semester for 4-year or graduate programs and $3,000/semester for 2-year or less programs.

This education benefit can be used toward an undergraduate degree, graduate degree, or certificate program, but can only be used for 8 semesters or the equivalent. This grant can be used at any private or public Minnesota institution eligible for state student aid.

Eligible children are dependent children under the age of 23, and dependent children under the age of 30 that have served on active military duty 181 consecutive days or more and have been honorably discharged.

Contact:

Minnesota Office of Higher Education
1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55108-5227
Phone: (651) 642-0567
Toll Free: (800) 657-3866
Fax: (651) 642-0675
Website: www.ohe.state.mn.us


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Education benefits for a spouse are identical to those available to a child.

Contact:

Minnesota Office of Higher Education
1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55108-5227
Phone: (651) 642-0567
Toll Free: (800) 657-3866
Fax: (651) 642-0675
Website: www.ohe.state.mn.us

(Reference: 2018 Minnesota Statutes, Section 136A.103, 136A.121, 299A.45)

NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Association of Minnesota

Steven Spaeth, Secretary
PO Box 822
Detroit Lakes, MN 56502
Phone: (218) 850-3101
E-mail: smspaeth@arvig.net
Website: www.vfbaofmn.com

If the Firefighter is a member of the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Association of Minnesota, the Association will pay out $25,000 if the volunteer firefighter lost their life while working their regular occupation.

Note that upon the payment by a relief association or the retirement plan of a lump-sum survivor benefit to a survivor of a volunteer firefighter, the association must pay a supplemental survivor benefit. The amount of the supplemental survivor benefit is 20% of the survivor benefit, but not to exceed $2,000.

(Reference: 2018 Minnesota Statutes, Section 424A.10)

Minnesota Hundred Club

P.O. Box 18784
Minneapolis, MN 55418
Phone: (320) 274-8228
E-mail: MN100Club@aol.com
Website: minnesota100club.com

The Minnesota Hundred Club provides financial support of up to $10,000 for the families of fallen firefighters.

Wills for Heroes
Minnesota State Bar Association

Attention: Andrea Bischoff and Susan Link
Third Floor City Center
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 380
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (612) 672-3493
Website: www.mnbar.org/about-msba/related-organizations/wills-for-heroes/

Wills for Heroes is a program which provides attorneys to assist spouses of fallen firefighters in preparing wills, health care directives, and other estate planning documents at no charge. This benefit is also available to living firefighters and other public safety officers.

Minnesota Fire Service Foundation

18 N. 12th St Suite 50003
Minneapolis, MN 55405
E-mail: mnfirememorial@gmail.com
Website: www.mnfireservicefoundation.org/

The Minnesota Fire Service Foundation offers at least one scholarship yearly for a spouse of child of a fallen firefighter. This scholarship is $1000 to be used toward post-secondary (High School) education.

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.


HEALTH INSURANCE

If the spouse and any dependents were receiving, or were eligible to receive, or later become eligible to receive, coverage under the employee’s group health plan, the fallen firefighter’s employer is responsible for the employer’s contribution for the coverage of the firefighter’s spouse and dependents for the continuation of their coverage. The spouse is eligible to continue these benefits until the age of 65, while most dependents are eligible to continue these benefits until the age of 26.

If the deceased is a volunteer firefighter for a department that did not offer a group health insurance policy to which a volunteer firefighter was eligible to subscribe, The municipality that operates the fire department shall, provide health insurance coverage for the volunteer firefighter’s dependents that is equivalent to the average benefit provided by the municipality to dependents of its employees who are covered by the plan. If the municipality does not offer a group health insurance plan for any employees, it shall reimburse the dependents for a minimum of 50% of the cost of health insurance premiums for coverage selected by the dependents. The same age limits as above apply here.

These are the minimum benefits required by law – specific employers may offer greater benefits.

Health insurance benefits payable to the firefighter’s dependents from any other source provide the primary coverage, and coverage available as described here is secondary.

Contact:

Commissioner’s Office
Minnesota Department of Public Safety

445 Minnesota Street
Saint Paul, MN 55101-5155
Phone: (651) 201-7160
E-mail: dps.commissioners@state.mn.us
Website: dps.mn.gov/divisions/co/programs/public-safety-officer-benefit-program/

(Reference: 2018 Minnesota Statutes, Section 299A.465)

TAX ABATEMENT

The state of Nebraska does not offer any tax abatements for the survivors of fallen firefighters.


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.