Mississippi Survivor Benefits

Updated November 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

When a firefighter dies or receives accidental or intentional bodily injury that results in death while engaged in the performance of their official duties, a one-time payment of $100,000 shall be made to the beneficiary previously designated in writing by the firefighter. If no such designation has been made, the payment shall be made to the surviving child or children and spouse in equal portions, and if there is no surviving child or spouse, then to the parent or parents. This payment is exempt from the claims and demands of creditors of the firefighter.

Contact:

Office of Standards and Training
Division of Public Safety Planning

Attn: Robert D. Davis, Director
1025 Northpark Dr.
Ridgeland, MI 39157
Phone: (601) 977-3774
Fax: (601) 977-3773
E-mail: rdavis@dps.ms.gov
Website: www.dps.state.ms.us

(Reference: Miss. Code Ann. Section 45-2-1)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Mississippi state law requires an employer, or its insurance carrier, to immediately give a lump-sum payment of $1,000 to a surviving spouse, in addition to the benefits listed below.

Weekly compensation payments to any or all beneficiaries shall not be paid for a longer period than 450 weeks (approx. 8 years, 8 months), nor shall the payments exceed 66-2/3% of the average weekly wage for the state per week, as determined by the Mississippi Employment Security Commission.

If the firefighter leaves a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse shall receive 35% of the average wages of the deceased while not remarried. For each surviving child of the deceased, this amount shall be increased by 10% of the average wages for each such child. In case of the death or remarriage of the spouse, any surviving child of the deceased shall have their compensation increased to 15% of such wages.

If the firefighter leaves any children but no spouse, each child shall receive 25% of the deceased’s weekly average wages.

In any of the cases above, the total amount payable shall not exceed 66-2/3% of the deceased’s weekly average wages.

If the firefighter left no surviving spouse or child, or if the aggregate amount payable to the spouse or children is under the 66-2/3% limit, each dependent grandchild, sibling, grandparent or parent is eligible for up to 15% of the wages, still subject to the 66-2/3% limit.

Note that eligible children are those that are dependent upon the deceased, and are under 18 (23 if a full time student) or incapable of supporting themselves by reason of disability. This can include biological, adopted, and step-children, as well children “in relation to whom the deceased employee stood in the place of a parent for at least one year prior to the time of injury”.

Contact:

Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission
1428 Lakeland Drive
Post Office Box 5300
Jackson, Mississippi 39296-5300
Phone: (601) 987-4200
Toll Free: (866) 473-6922
Website: mwcc.ms.gov

(Reference: Miss. Code Ann. Sections 71-3-3, 71-3-13, 71-3-25)

COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

As of November 2018, Mississippi does not presume any diseases or conditions to be occupational diseases for firefighters.


FUNERAL BENEFIT

Mississippi state law requires an employer, or its insurance carrier, to pay the reasonable funeral expenses not exceeding $5,000, exclusive of other burial insurance or benefits.

Contact:

Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission
1428 Lakeland Drive
Post Office Box 5300
Jackson, Mississippi 39296-5300
Phone: (601) 987-4200
Toll Free: (866) 473-6922
Website: mwcc.ms.gov

(Reference: Miss. Code Ann. Section 71-3-25)

RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

Career Firefighters: For firefighters under the MRS plan (closed to new employees on 1 July 1987), benefits and eligibility may vary based on your local government. Please contact PERS of Mississippi for help determining exact benefits.

For firefighters under the PERS plan (all others firefighters), spouses shall receive 50% of average compensation until their death. If the firefighter left one dependent child, that child shall receive 25% of average compensation until they are no longer a dependent. If there are two or more dependent children, all dependent children will equally split 50% of average compensation. Upon a child’s ceasing to be a dependent child, their annuity shall terminate and there shall be a redetermination of the amounts payable to any remaining dependent children.

These payments are to be made regardless of the firefighter’s tenure upon their death. If these payments end before the aggregate amount equals the firefighter’s accumulated contributions, the difference shall be paid out to the beneficiary designated by the firefighter. If there is no designated beneficiary surviving at termination of benefits, the difference shall be payable under Miss. Code Section 25-11-117.1.

Mississippi PERS Handbook is posted on the website.

Contact:

Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System
429 Mississippi Street
Jackson, MS 39201-1005
Phone: (601) 359-3589
Toll Free: (800) 444-7377
E-mail: customerservice@pers.ms.gov
Website: www.pers.ms.gov/Content/Pages/Retirement-Plans.aspx

(Reference: Miss. Code Ann. Sections 25-11-114, 25-11-117.1)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

The Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers and Fireman Scholarship Program offers financial assistance to dependent children and spouses of any Mississippi full-time fire fighter or volunteer fire fighter who has suffered fatal injuries in the performance of the duties of their office.

This annual award covers the cost of tuition, including required fees, and the average cost of campus housing at a state-supported college or university of the recipient’s choice within the state of Mississippi for up to 8 semesters of undergraduate education. Natural children, adopted children, and stepchildren are all eligible to apply. The child must be under the age of 23, unless they started receiving college credits before the age of 23 and their college instruction was interrupted for any reason.

This scholarship does not include payment for books, food, school supplies, materials, and dues or fees for extracurricular activities. Under Mississippi state law, recipients must reapply yearly for this scholarship and maintain a GPA of 2.5 or above as a full time student in order to continue to receive this benefit.

Contact:

Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid
3825 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 39211
Phone: (601) (601) 432-6997
Toll Free: (800) 327-2980
E-mail: rshed@mississippi.edu
Website: www.msfinancialaid.org/law/


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

The Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers and Fireman Scholarship Program is also available to spouses of fallen firefighters. The requirements and benefits are the same, with the exception of the age requirement. Remarriage does not affect eligibility.

Contact:

Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid
3825 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 39211
Phone: (601) (601) 432-6997
Toll Free: (800) 327-2980
E-mail: rshed@mississippi.edu
Website: www.msfinancialaid.org/law/

(Reference: Miss. Code Ann. Section 37-106-39)

NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Mississippi Firefighters Association

P.O. Box 1507
Brandon, MS 39043-15078
Phone: (601) 624-5846
E-mail:Brad.Smith@mid.state.ms.us
Website:www.mffa.com
If the firefighter is a member of the Mississippi Firefighters Association (MFFA), they are eligible for a $2,000 life insurance benefit. This benefit has no age requirements or stipulations attached.

Professional Fire Fighters Association of Mississippi

Phone: (601) 832-6233
Website:www.pffms.org
Contact Us: Send Message Via the Website

If the Firefighter is a member of the Professional Fire Fighters Association of Mississippi, PROFAM offers an ‘Emergency Relief Fund’ to families in the case of a Line-of-Duty Death. Contact PROFAM for more information.

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

The State of Mississippi does not offer any state level health insurance benefits for the survivors of fallen firefighters. Please contact your fire department or local municipality to check if they do.


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.


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.