New York Survivor Benefits

Survivor BenefitsUpdated June 2017

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

Benefits listed here do not include special benefits for survivors of Fire Department of New York firefighters killed in the World Trade Center Incident on September 11, 2001.

New York State has many retirement systems. Most firefighters belong the State Police and Fire Retirement System. The decedent’s benefits administrator will be able to answer beneficiary questions. You may also contact the Call Center toll-free at 1-866-805-0990, or 518-474-7736 within the Albany, New York area, or write to the following address. Social Security number and current State employer information should be included on any correspondence.

Career Firefighters: If the death occurs within one year of an injury sustained in the performance of duty, State law mandates the municipality pay a lump sum death benefit. The benefit shall be equal to the annual salary during the year preceding the firefighter’s death or the year preceding the injury, whichever is greater, plus $1,000 or 10 percent of the final salary, whichever is higher, for each child under age 18 on the date of the death.

If the covered service death is not a result of an on-the-job accident, the beneficiary may be entitled to the state’s ordinary death benefit of up to $50,000.

Paid firefighters who become permanently disabled due to certain types of cancer may be eligible for performance of duty or accidental disability benefits. If death occurs due to a certain type of cancer, beneficiaries may be eligible to receive accidental death benefits. Firefighter must have been a member of the New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System. In most cases, these benefits will be greater than ordinary death or disability benefits. Benefit must be filed within two years of the death.

Contact:
New York State Comptroller and Local Police and Fire Retirement System
110 State Street
Albany, NY 12244-0001
Phone: (518) 474-7736
Toll Free: (866) 805-0990
Fax: (518) 402-4433
Website: www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/index.htm

Or

Contact:
New York State and Local Retirement System
Survivor’s Benefit Program
110 State Street
Albany, NY 12244-0001
Website: www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/publications/vo1655.htm

A lump sum benefit of $56,000 is paid to the surviving spouse, or the the estate if there is no surviving spouse.

Contact:
New York State Workers’ Compensation Board
20 Park Street
Albany, NY 12207
Phone: (518) 462-8880
Toll Free: (877) 632-4996
Website: www.wcb.ny.gov
Email: [email protected]

(Reference: New York State Reserve Statute 6046; New York ADC Law Section 13-244, New York Code Section 13-244; New York RSS Law Section 607 [World Trade Center])

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

All medical expenses directly associated with the death are paid. Children are considered dependent until age 18 or age 25 if enrolled in an accredited educational institution.

Career Firefighters: New York City firefighters are not covered under Workers’ Compensation law. There is legislation pending in NY to extend worker’s comp benefits to firefighters diagnosed with cancer.

A weekly benefit equal to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage for the year before the fatal accident paid to the spouse. The weekly compensation may not exceed the weekly maximum, despite the number of dependents. If the surviving spouse remarries, a lump sum benefit of up to $41,800 is paid. If no minor children, the spouse receives the maximum amount. If there are children receiving the weekly benefit amount at the time of remarriage, the spouse receives a lump sum award of $22,800. Benefit may be subject to social security offset.

Volunteer Firefighters: Benefits are paid under the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law. Volunteers are considered employees of the municipality for the purpose of Workers’ Compensation.

If the death occurred on or after July 1, 1992, a weekly benefit of $887 is paid to the surviving spouse with no dependent children. A surviving spouse with dependent children is entitled to smaller weekly cash benefits. Children are also entitled to weekly cash benefits. Upon remarriage, a spouse without dependent children is paid a lump sum ($92,219 as of FY 2008) and benefits terminate. A spouse with dependent children who remarries receives a smaller lump sum payment. Dependent children continue to receive weekly benefits when the spouse remarries.

Contact:
New York State Workers’ Compensation Board
20 Park Street
Albany, NY 12207
Phone: (518) 462-8880
Toll Free: (877) 632-4996
Website: www.wcb.ny.gov
Email: [email protected]


FUNERAL BENEFIT

Career Firefighters: Maximum of $6,700.

Volunteer Firefighters: Maximum of $6,700 for burial expenses. If the firefighter dies from injuries received in the line of duty as a direct result of firefighting, the maximum may be increased.

Contact:
New York State Workers’ Compensation Board
20 Park Street
Albany, NY 12207
Phone: (518) 462-8880
Toll Free: (877) 632-4996
Website: www.wcb.ny.gov
Email: [email protected]


RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

Career Firefighters (Exclusive of New York City): Retirement System membership is mandatory for paid firefighters in public employment. Accidental Death Benefit: If death occurs as the direct result of an on-the-job accident, beneficiary will receive an annual allowance equal to 50% of the deceased firefighter’s final average salary (less any Workers’ Compensation benefit paid or payable due to the death). This is a lifetime benefit for the surviving spouse. If no spouse survives, the benefit is paid to dependent children until age 18 or age 23 if a student. When there is no spouse or minor children, benefit payable to dependent parents.

If the firefighter dies under circumstances which permit payment of the accidental death benefit, the survivors will also be paid a special accidental death benefit. This benefit is a pension equal to the firefighter’s salary, which will increase by 3% each year after death, reduced by the accidental death benefit and Social Security benefit payable.

If the firefighter participated in the World Trade Center Site rescue, recovery or clean-up efforts, certain family beneficiaries may be eligible for accidental death benefits if death results from a qualifying condition.

Contact:
New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System
110 State Street
Albany, NY 12244-0001
Phone: (518) 474-7736
Toll Free: (866) 805-0990
Website: www.osc.state.ny.us/retire/index.htm

Firefighters in New York state may also belong to different or additional pension systems. Check with department benefits officer.

FDNY Firefighters Contact:
Pension Unit, FDNY
9 Metro Tech Center, Room 6W-5
Brooklyn, NY 11201


EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

Memorial Scholarships for Families of Deceased Firefighters, Volunteer Firefighters, Police Officers, Peace Officers and Emergency Medical Service Workers awarded to full-time undergraduates at approved NY colleges/post-secondary institutions. To qualify for award, firefighter must have died as the result of an injury sustained in the line of duty. Memorial Scholarships are available for four years of full time undergraduate study or for five years in an approved five-year bachelor’s degree program. Covers actual tuition or the State University of New York (SUNY or CUNY) undergraduate tuition, whichever is less. Assistance also available for non-tuition costs such as room and board with allowances for books, supplies, and transportation. If you are a financial dependent, you are eligible under this program. A student living on campus will receive a higher room and board allowance than a commuter student. Students choosing to live in off campus housing will be paid at the lower commuter rate.

Memorial Scholarship students attending institutions with tuition charges higher than SUNY or CUNY charges may receive additional assistance through New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program.

Contact:
New York State Higher Education Services Corporation
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12255
Phone: (518) 473-1574
Toll Free: (888) 697-4372
Website: www.hesc.com


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Memorial Scholarships for Families of Deceased Firefighters, Volunteer Firefighters, Police Officers, Peace Officers and Emergency Medical Service Workers awarded to full-time undergraduates at approved NY colleges/post-secondary institutions. To qualify for award, firefighter must have died as the result of an injury sustained in the line of duty. Memorial Scholarships are available for four years of full time undergraduate study or for five years in an approved five-year bachelor’s degree program. Covers actual tuition or the State University of New York (SUNY or CUNY) undergraduate tuition, whichever is less. Assistance also available for non-tuition costs such as room and board with allowances for books, supplies, and transportation. If you are a financial dependent, you are eligible under this program. A student living on campus will receive a higher room and board allowance than a commuter student. Students choosing to live in off campus housing will be paid at the lower commuter rate.

Memorial Scholarship students attending institutions with tuition charges higher than SUNY or CUNY charges may receive additional assistance through New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program.

Contact:
New York State Higher Education Services Corporation
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12255
Phone: (518) 473-1574
Toll Free: (888) 697-4372
Website: www.hesc.com


NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Contact:
Children of Injured Workers, Inc.
4983 Brittonfield Parkway
East Syracuse, NY 13057
Phone: (315) 449-4306 (Ask for Children of Injured Workers)
Fax: (315) 449-4358
Website: www.kidschanceny.org

Provides educational assistance to children of New York State workers who are killed in the line of duty and covered by the worker’s comp laws of New York State.

Several private organizations provide support to the families of public safety officers in the New York City area. A few of these are listed below:

Silver Shield Foundation
870 United Nations Plaza, Floor 1
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212)-832-1100
Toll Free: (800) 811-4692
Website: www.silvershieldfoundation.org

Scholarships for tutoring or tuition at an accredited college, or graduate, vocational, preparatory or technical school for the children of New York City firefighters killed in the line of duty. Support and counseling is also available for the children and spouses. Continuing education opportunities are available for the spouses. Also provides a free annual comprehensive medical exam for surviving spouses at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Scholarship America, Inc.
1550 American Blvd. E.
Suite 155
Minneapolis, MN 55425
Phone: (952) 830-7300
Toll Free: (800) 279-2083
Website: www.scholarshipamerica.org

Oversees the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund available to the families of New York City firefighters killed on September 11, 2001.

Contact:
Woodmen of the World
Woodmen Tower
1700 Farnham St
Omaha, NE 68102
Phone: (800) 225-3108
Website: www.woodmen.org

Woodmen of the World will pay a $10,000 fraternal death benefit if a qualified member is killed while performing his or her duties as a non-military first responder. To be eligible for this benefit, an individual must be a member in good standing of one of our other benefits.

First Responders include firefighters, EMT/paramedics, police or a person performing a supporting role to such individuals.


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.