North Carolina Survivor Benefits

Updated November 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

A one-time payment of $100,000 shall be awarded to the spouse, dependent children, or parents of a full time, part time, or volunteer firefighters who dies in the line of duty. This benefit is exempt from local and state taxes.

This includes firefighters who die as the direct and proximate result of a myocardial infarction suffered while on duty or within 24 hours after participating in a training exercise or responding to an emergency situation, or as a direct and proximate result of any of the following cancers that are occupationally related to firefighting: mesothelioma, testicular cancer, intestinal cancer, and esophageal cancer.

Note that this payment was increased from $50,000 in June of 2018 by the state legislature for deaths occurring on or after 1 April 2017.

Contact:

North Carolina Industrial Commission
430 N. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
Phone: (919) 807-2501
Toll Free: (800) 688-8349
Fax: (919) 715-0282
E-mail: infospec@ic.nc.gov
Website: www.ic.nc.gov

Mailing Address:

North Carolina Industrial Commission
1240 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1240

(Reference: N.C.G.S. Sections 143-166.2, 143-166.3, 143-166.6)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

If death results proximately from a compensable injury or occupational disease the employer shall pay or cause to be paid weekly payments of compensation equal to 66 2/3% of the average weekly wages of the deceased employee at the time of the accident. This amount must be greater than $30 per week but less than the Maximum Weekly Compensation Rate. This rate changes yearly: in 2018 it is $992 per week and in 2019 it is $1,028 per week.

Persons wholly dependent for support upon the earnings of the deceased employee at the time of the accident shall be entitled to receive the entire compensation payable, shared equally, to the exclusion of all other persons. Spouses and children are assumed to be dependents.

These payments shall be paid at minimum for a period of 500 weeks from the date of the death. After this period, an unmarried spouse who is unable to support themselves because of physical or mental disability as of the date of death, or any dependent children under the age of 18, shall continue to receive the weekly payments so long as they remain unmarried and disabled, or under 18, respectively.

For volunteer firefighters, compensation payable shall be calculated upon the average weekly wage the volunteer firefighter principally earned for their livelihood as of the date of injury. The minimum compensation payable to a volunteer firefighter shall be 66 2/3% of the Maximum Weekly Compensation Rate.

Contact:

North Carolina Industrial Commission
430 N. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
Phone: (919) 807-2501
Toll Free: (800) 688-8349
Fax: (919) 715-0282
E-mail: infospec@ic.nc.gov
Website: www.ic.nc.gov

Mailing Address:

Workers’ Compensation Information Specialists
North Carolina Industrial Commission

1233 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1233

(Reference: N.C.G.S. Sections 97-2, 97-29, 97-38, 97-39)

COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

North Carolina has a long list of diseases and conditions considered to be occupational diseases for all workers. This list includes asbestosis, silicosis, compressed air illness, and carbon monoxide poisoning. See general statute 97-53 for the full list. However, as of November 2018, the only firefighter specific diseases are those listed above: myocardial infarction within 24 hours of duty, mesothelioma, testicular cancer, intestinal cancer, and esophageal cancer.

(Reference: N.C.G.S. Sections 97-53)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Burial expenses not exceeding $10,000 shall be covered under Workers’ Compensation law.

Contact:

North Carolina Industrial Commission
430 N. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
Phone: (919) 807-2501
Toll Free: (800) 688-8349
Fax: (919) 715-0282
E-mail: infospec@ic.nc.gov
Website: www.ic.nc.gov

Mailing Address:

Workers’ Compensation Information Specialists
North Carolina Industrial Commission

1233 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1233

(Reference: N.C.G.S. Section 97-38)

RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

The “Firefighters’ and Rescue Squad Workers’ Pension Fund” covers many firefighters in the state of North Carolina, including members of volunteer fire departments. Effective 1 July 2018, FRSWPF members will be able to name principal and contingent beneficiaries for the Survivor Benefit owed if killed in the line of duty.

If the death occurred after 1 July 2018 and the firefighter has one eligible principal beneficiary, they will receive a monthly survivorship benefit, currently $170, beginning the month following the month the firefighter would have become 55 years old, or if already 55, beginning the month following death. The beneficiary is eligible for this benefit until death. If the firefighter leaves no spouse, a lump sum shall be paid to the estate of the deceased.

If there is more than one living principal beneficiary or contingent beneficiary, a lump-sum payment equal to the firefighter’s remaining contributions will be paid to the eligible beneficiaries.

If the death occurred prior to 1 July 2018, only the surviving spouse is eligible for the monthly payments.

Contact:

Firefighters’ and Rescue Squad Workers’ Pension Fund
Department of State Treasurer
3200 Atlantic Avenue
Raleigh, North Carolina 27604
Phone: (877) 627-3287
E-mail: nc.retirement@nctreasurer.com
Website: www.myncretirement.com

(Reference: N.C.G.S. Section 58-86-60)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

Children under the age of 24 shall be able to attend classes for credit or noncredit purposes without the required payment of tuition for up to 54 months (4.5 years) at any of the constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina or the North Carolina Community Colleges. Other fees and charges, such as housing and textbooks, are not waived under this law.


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Spouses are also eligible for the tuition waiver. The age and duration limitations for children do not apply to spouses. Spouses lose this benefit upon remarriage.

There is no central authority for this education benefit; each institution is charged with creating the rules necessary for the implementation of this benefit. Please reach out to the institution in question, or visit that school’s website (View an Example) for information on required documents and deadlines.

(Reference: N.C.G.S. Sections 115B-1, 115B-2.)

NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

North Carolina Association of Rescue & E.M.S.

200H Genoa Crossing Drive
Goldsboro, North Carolina 27530
Phone: (919) 736-0506
Fax: (919) 736-7759
E-mail: ncarems@ncarems.org
Website: www.ncarems.org

Mailing Address:

North Carolina Association of Rescue & E.M.S.
Post Office Box 1914
Goldsboro, North Carolina 27533-1914

North Carolina Association of Rescue & E.M.S. offers the following to all rescue/EMS personnel: a LODD one-time benefit payment of $100,000, 10% of the average weekly wage of the fallen firefighter for a 6 month period, and scholarship opportunities to dependent children. Children may choose a 2 or 4 year school. A 2 year scholarship shall be $2,000.00, 2/4 year shall be $9500.00, and a four 4 year scholarship shall be $15,000.00.

The Association also offers the following to members of the association: $20,000 AD&D, $5,000 member death benefit, $1,000 natural death benefit, and scholarship opportunities similar to those above for a surviving spouse.

North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association

3101 Industrial Drive
Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: (919) 821-2132
Fax: (919) 821-9382
Website: http://ncsfa.com/

Member benefits include: $25,000 AD&D for off duty events and $50,000 for on duty events, a Relief fund, and a Retirement fund. The NCSFA also has a scholarship program which gives $2,000 and $8,000 for associate and bachelor’s degrees, respectively, to the children of fallen NCSFA firefighters. Scholarships are awarded on both a merit and need basis.
Contact: North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association

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

Spouses and their dependent children are eligible to join the North Carolina State Health Plan with Fully Contributory Coverage, provided that the person seeking coverage as a subscriber is not eligible for another comprehensive group health benefit plan and has been without coverage under a comprehensive group health benefit plan for at least six consecutive months:
Contact: Enrollment & Eligibility Support Center

North Carolina State Health Plan

3200 Atlantic Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27604
Phone: (855) 859-0966
E-mail: ppo.inquiries@nctreasurer.com
Website: https://www.shpnc.org/

(Reference: N.C.G.S. Section 135-48.40(c))

TAX ABATEMENT

North Carolina does not have a state wide tax abatement benefit for the families 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.


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.