Updated November 2018
ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT
As of November 2018, Nebraska has no direct one-time death benefit for its firefighters. However, volunteer firefighter departments are required to provide a group term life insurance policy which provides a minimum of a $10,000 death benefit for death from any cause. Contact your fire department for information.
A surviving spouse is paid death benefits for life or until remarriage. Upon remarriage, the spouse receives two years worth of benefits as a lump-sum payment. Benefits are calculated at 66-2/3% of the firefighter’s average weekly wage at the time of death to the spouse if there are no children. If there are any children, 60% shall go to the spouse, or 55% if the children do not live with the spouse, while the children equally split 15%.
If there is no widow or widower but one child, that child shall be given 66-2/3% of such wage. Two or more children shall equally split 75% of the wages.
Children are entitled to a percentage of the death benefit until they reach age 19, or age 25 if enrolled full time at an accredited educational institution, or until the end of actual dependency.
Dependent parents, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren are eligible for up to 25% of the firefighter’s wages, subject to the limits below.
Minimum and maximum weekly compensation is $49.00 and $831.00. The maximum weekly income benefits payable for all beneficiaries in case of death shall not exceed 75% of the average weekly wage of the deceased.
COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES
For paid firefighters who die as a result of cancer, including, but not limited to, cancer affecting the skin or the central nervous, lymphatic, digestive, hematological, urinary, skeletal, oral, or prostate systems, their cancer will be considered a covered occupational disease if the following are all true: 1) the firefighter successfully passed a physical examination upon entry to the service, or a subsequent examination while in the service, which examination failed to reveal any evidence of the disease; 2) the firefighter was exposed to a known carcinogen, as defined on July 19, 1996, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, while in the service of the fire department; and 3) such carcinogen is reported by the agency to be a suspected or known cause of the type of cancer the firefighter has.
Other diseases covered under Nebraska law are human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, all strains of hepatitis, tuberculosis, meningococcal meningitis, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The firefighter must have passes a physical examination, as above, and have engaged in the service of the fire department within ten years before the onset of the disease.
This law applies to firefighters who passed while in the service of the department, or if the death occurs within three months after separating from the department.
Nebraska Worker’s Compensation allows for the reasonable expenses of burial to be paid to an employee’s dependents or estate, of an amount not to exceed $10,000.
In Nebraska, pensions are set up at the local level. Please reach out to your fire department or local government for specific information regarding pension benefits.
EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN
The “In the Line of Duty Dependent Education Benefit” is available for biological or adopted children of a Nebraska firefighter, paid or volunteer, under the age of 26. This benefit shall be provided for full-time undergraduate students who are pursuing studies leading to an associate or baccalaureate degree. A child becomes eligible for this benefit after they have applied for federal financial aid grants and state scholarships and grants to cover tuition and fees. The eligible child may receive the education benefit for up to five years.
This benefit can be used at any state university, state college, or community college. The institution shall waive all remaining tuition and fees due after subtracting awarded federal financial aid grants and state scholarships and grants for an eligible child during the time the child is enrolled as a full-time student.
Please contact the Admissions or Student Affairs office at your specific college or university for more information and assistance.
EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE
As of November 2018, The “In the Line of Duty Dependent Education Benefit” is only available for children, not spouses, of fallen firefighters.
NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS
The International Association of Fire Fighters
1750 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
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.
For group health plans not covered by the federal COBRA law, such as for employers with fewer than 20 employees, Nebraska law states that any spouse and dependent children of a deceased employee may continue to be covered under that health plan for up to a year after the coverage for the deceased would have been terminated. Please contact your group health provider, or fire department, to see if this applies.
The state of Nebraska does not offer any tax abatements for the survivors of fallen firefighters.
FUNERAL & CREMATION BENEFITS
Phone: (800) 343-4464
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)
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.