New Mexico Survivor Benefits

Updated November 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

A one-time payment of $250,000 shall be awarded to the survivors of any full-time, part-time, volunteer, or wildland firefighter. This payment shall be awarded to the surviving spouse, or pro rata among surviving children if there is no spouse, or to the surviving parents if there is neither spouse nor child.

Contact:

New Mexico Public Regulation Commission
Administrative Services Division

1120 Paseo De Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87504
Phone: (505) 827-4084
Website: http://www.nmprc.state.nm.us/state-firemarshal/

(Reference: NMSA Section 10-11B)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

If the firefighter leaves a spouse and no children, the spouse is entitled to 66-2/3% of the firefighter’s average weekly wage for 700 weeks (approximately 13.5 years) or remarriage, whichever comes first. Upon remarriage, the spouse shall be given a lump sum equal to two years worth of these payments.

If the firefighter leaves any dependent children and no spouse, the dependent children shall split the same 66-2/3%. Each child receives their share of this benefit for as long as they are considered a dependent.

If there is both a spouse and children, and all the children are living with the spouse, 45% of the weekly compensation benefit payments go to the spouse and the other 55% are divided equally among the children. If no child is living with the spouse, the percentages change to 40 and 60, respectively.

This payment is not to exceed 100% of the state’s average weekly wage, and is not to be less than $36 per week. For 2018, the state’s average weekly wage is $796.96, for 2019 it is $814.64.

Spouses living with or legally entitled to support from the deceased, and unmarried children of the deceased under 18 or under 23 if enrolled as full-time student in any accredited educational institution or incapable of supporting themselves are automatically considered dependents. If there is no spouse or child then parents, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings may be considered partially or wholly dependent based on the particulars of the situation and eligible for up to 35% of the firefighter’s weekly wages each, not to exceed 66-2/3% total.

The employer or their insurance carrier shall also pay the expenses provided for medical and hospital services for the deceased in relation to the injury causing death.

Contact:

Workers’ Compensation Administration
2410 Centre Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
Phone: (505) 841-6000
Website: workerscomp.nm.gov/Indemnity-Benefits

(Reference: NMSA Sections 52-1-17, 52-1-41, 52-1-46)

COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

The following applies to full-time, non-volunteer firefighters.

If a firefighter is diagnosed with a heart injury or stroke suffered within twenty-four hours of fighting a fire, while responding to an alarm, while returning from an alarm call, while engaging in supervised physical training or while responding to or performing in a non-fire emergency, the heart injury or stroke is presumed to be proximately caused by employment as a firefighter. This presumption shall not hold if the firefighter’s employer does not have a current physical training program and the firefighter does not have a current medical screening examination or review pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

If a firefighter is diagnosed with any of the following diseases after the period of employment indicated, and if that disease was not revealed during an initial employment medical screening examination or during a subsequent medical review pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the disease is presumed to be proximately caused by employment as a firefighter:

brain cancer after ten years;
bladder cancer after twelve years;
kidney cancer after fifteen years;
colorectal cancer after ten years;
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after fifteen years;
leukemia after five years;
ureter cancer after twelve years;
testicular cancer after five years if diagnosed before the age of forty with no evidence of anabolic steroids or human growth hormone use;
breast cancer after five years if diagnosed before the age of forty without a breast cancer 1 or breast cancer 2 genetic predisposition to breast cancer;
esophageal cancer after ten years;
multiple myeloma after fifteen years; and
hepatitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria, meningococcal disease and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus appearing and diagnosed after entry into employment.

Medical treatment based on the presumptions outlined above shall be provided by an employer as for a job-related illness or injury.

(Reference: NMSA Section 52-3-32.1)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Workers’ Compensation in the state of New Mexico covers funeral expenses up to $7,500.

Contact:

Workers’ Compensation Administration
2410 Centre Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
Phone: (505) 841-6000
Website: workerscomp.nm.gov/Indemnity-Benefits

(Reference: NMSA Section 52-1-46)

RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

Volunteer Firefighters: Under the New Mexico Volunteer Firefighters Retirement Act, volunteer firefighters are eligible for a pension after reaching the age of 55 and having at least 10 years of service credit. This pension pays $125 monthly, or $250 if the firefighter has at least 25 years of service credit. A spouse or child is eligible to be named a beneficiary and receive 66-2/3% of the pension upon the death of the volunteer firefighter.

The beneficiary is only eligible to receive this pension if the firefighter was already receiving the pension at the time of death.

A pension to a surviving spouse terminates upon either remarriage or death. A pension to a dependent child ceases when they reach age 18 or death.

Career Firefighters: The designated beneficiary or spouse if there is no designated survivor beneficiary is eligible for a pension which lasts until death. The amount of the survivor pension shall be either 50% of the deceased member’s final average salary, or a amount calculated based on length of service, whichever is greater.

If the firefighter leaves two or more dependent children, the pension for all such children shall be 50% of the deceased member’s final average salary if an eligible surviving spouse is not paid a pension. If an eligible surviving spouse is paid a pension, the children’s pension shall be 25%. The total amount of survivor pension shall be divided equally among all eligible surviving children. If there is only one eligible child, the amount of pension shall be 25% of the deceased member’s final average salary.

If there is no designated survivor beneficiary and there is no eligible surviving child, the eligible surviving spouse may elect to be refunded the deceased member’s accumulated member contributions instead of receiving a survivor pension.

An eligible surviving spouse’s pension shall terminate upon death. An eligible surviving child’s pension shall terminate upon death or marriage or reaching age eighteen years, whichever comes first.

Contact:

or

Phone:  (Santa Fe) or(Albuquerque) or (toll free)
Fax: (Santa Fe) or (Albuquerque)
Website:
E-mail:

Contact:

Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico
33 Plaza La Prensa
Santa Fe, NM 87507
Phone: (505) 383-6550
Toll Free: (800) 342-3422
Fax: (505) 954-0370
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.nmpera.org

OR

Contact:

Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico
2500 Louisiana Blvd. NE, Ste 400
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Phone: (505) 383-6550
Toll Free: (800) 342-3422
Fax: (505) 883-4573
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.nmpera.org

(Reference: NMSA Sections 10-11-14.5, 10-11A)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

The “Fire Fighters and Peace Officers Survivors Scholarship” is available to any child of a fallen firefighter who was 21 years of age or younger at the time of the firefighter’s death. This scholarship lasts up to 6 academic years and can be used at any public post-secondary institution in the United States.

If the institution is in New Mexico, this scholarship shall be equal to the amount of tuition, room and board charged by the institution attended. If outside New Mexico, it shall provide tuition, room and board up to the average cost of attendance at a New Mexico public research university.


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Spouses are eligible for the scholarship outlined above. Spouses are not subject to the same age requirement as children.

Contact:

New Mexico Higher Education Department
2044 Galisteo Street, Suite 4
Santa Fe, NM 87505-2100
Phone: (505) 476-8400
Fax: (505) 476-8453
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: hed.state.nm.us

(Reference: NMSA Section 21-21F)

NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

100 Club of New Mexico

Attn: Jane Jernigan
The 100 Club of New Mexico
PO Box 1154
Albuquerque, NM 87103
Phone: (505) 362-8950
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.100clubnm.org

The 100 Club of New Mexico offers immediate financial support to the families of fallen firefighters and police officers.

Toby Wright Scholarship Fund

Workers’ Compensation Association of New Mexico
Attn: Brock Carter
3207 Matthew NE, Suite A
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107
Phone: (800) 640-0724
E-mail: [email protected]
Website:www.wcaofnm.com/toby-wright-scholarship/

The Toby Wright Scholarship Fund offers scholarships for the children, age 16 to 25, of New Mexico workers who have been severely injured or killed in an employment related accident. Amount is based on need and fund availability.

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

While health plans vary by department or municipality, you will be able to continue with coverage under state or federal COBRA law. Check with your local department to determine benefit packages available


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.