Ohio Survivor Benefits

Updated November 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

As of November 2018, Ohio does not have a statewide one-time death benefit for fallen firefighters.


WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

The weekly payment is 66-2/3% of the average weekly wage of the deceased, not to exceed a maximum aggregate amount of weekly compensation equal to the statewide average weekly wage. The state’s average weekly wage for 2018 is $932, and is updated yearly. If the deceased was receiving total disability compensation at the time of death, the dependents are eligible for the full state average weekly wage amount, irrespective of the deceased’s average weekly wage.

A dependent spouse will receive this benefit until death or remarriage. Upon remarriage, they shall receive a one-time payment equal to 2 years worth of this weekly benefit. Children are eligible for this benefit while under the age of 18, or 25 if enrolled full time in an educational program, or incapable of supporting themselves due to mental or physical incapacitation.
Where there is more than one person who is wholly dependent at the time of the death of the employee, the Administrator of workers’ compensation shall apportion the weekly payments among the dependents.

Other family members may be considered dependent based on the particulars of the family.

Contact:

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
30 West Spring Street
Columbus, OH 43215-2256
Phone: (800) 644-6292
Fax: (866) 336-8352
Contact: Contact Us Form
Website: info.bwc.ohio.gov

(Reference: Ohio Revised Code, Sections 4123.59, 4123.62)

COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

Any cardiovascular, pulmonary, or respiratory disease of a firefighter, paid or volunteer, caused or induced by the cumulative effect of exposure to heat, the inhalation of smoke, toxic gases, chemical fumes and other toxic substances in the performance of the firefighter’s or police officer’s duty constitutes a presumption that such occurred in the course of and arising out of the firefighter’s employment. This presumption may be refuted by affirmative evidence to the contrary. Compensation, medical, hospital, and nursing expenses are payable only in the event of such disability or death resulting within eight years after the last injurious exposure.

Cancer contracted by a firefighter who has been assigned to at least six years of hazardous duty as a firefighter constitutes a presumption that the cancer was contracted in the course of and arising out of the firefighter’s employment if the firefighter was exposed to an agent classified by the international agency for research on cancer or its successor organization as a group 1 or 2A carcinogen. This presumption is not held if the firefighter is over 70 years old, it has been more than fifteen years since the firefighter was last assigned to hazardous duty, there is evidence that the firefighter incurred the type of cancer alleged before becoming a member of the fire department, there is evidence that the firefighter was not exposed to an agent classified by the international agency for research on cancer as a group 1 or 2A carcinogen, there is evidence that shows by a preponderance of competent scientific evidence that exposure to the type of carcinogen alleged did not or could not have caused the cancer being alleged, or there is evidence that the firefighter’s exposure, outside the scope of the firefighter’s official duties, to tobacco products or other conditions presenting an extremely high risk for the development of the cancer alleged, was probably a significant factor in the cause or progression of the cancer.

(Reference: Ohio Revised Code, Section 4123.68)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Reasonable funeral expenses may be paid or reimbursed up to a maximum of $5,500 by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Contact:

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
30 West Spring Street
Columbus, OH 43215-2256
Phone: (800) 644-6292
Fax: (866) 336-8352
Contact: Contact Us Form
Website: info.bwc.ohio.gov

(Reference: Ohio Revised Code, Section 4123.66)

RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

Career Firefighters:
The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund is the main state pension plan for firefighters in Ohio. If a firefighter had not qualified for an age and service retirement then the eligible survivors, as a group, receive the firefighter’s base pay, minus any payments from another retirement system, as a pension.

This is split equally among a spouse and up to 2 dependent children. If the firefighter leaves a spouse and more than 2 dependent children, 1/3rd of the pension goes to the spouse while the remaining 2/3rds of the pension are split equally among the children.
Spouses shall receive this benefit until the date the firefighter would have qualified for an age and service retirement.

On the date the firefighter would have qualified for an age and service retirement the spouse shall receive a pension of 50% of the base pay the firefighter would have earned for their position on the date they would have been eligible to retire. Spouses receive this benefit for life.

If the firefighter had already been eligible for retirement on the date of death, the spouse shall receive a pension of 50% of the base pay the firefighter was actually earning in their position on the date of death. Spouses receive this benefit for life.

Children are considered dependent as long as they remain unmarried and under the age of 22, or are mentally or physically disabled and totally dependent on the firefighter. Dependent parents are eligible for this benefit if the deceased leaves neither spouse nor child.

Call/Volunteer Firefighters:
Surviving spouses shall be given a one-time payment of $1,000 and a monthly benefit of $300. The spouse, or whosoever is the guardian of any dependent children, shall receive $125 per month for each dependent child.

Note the benefit for call or volunteer firefighters is not administered through OP&F. Each political subdivision or fire district is charges with establishing its own volunteer fire fighters’ dependents fund board.

Contact:

Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund
140 East Town Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 228-2975
TTY: (614) 221-3846
Fax: (614) 628-1777
E-mail: questions@op-f.org
Website: www.op-f.org

(Reference: Ohio Revised Code, Sections 146.12, 742.37, 742.50, 742.63)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

The Ohio Department of Education offers the Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund to children and spouses of fallen firefighters. This fund will provide benefits which cover 100% of the instructional and general fee charges at public colleges and universities in Ohio or a set amount for private and proprietary post-secondary institutions. For the 2018-2019 academic year this amount is $7,334. This fund can be used by full or part time students pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Contact:

Ohio Department of Higher Education
Attn: Tamika Braswell
25 South Front Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 728-8862
Fax: (614) 466-5866
E-mail: tbraswell@highered.ohio.gov
Website: www.ohiohighered.org


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

The Ohio Department of Education offers the Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund to children and spouses of fallen firefighters. This fund will provide benefits which cover 100% of the instructional and general fee charges at public colleges and universities in Ohio or a set amount for private and proprietary post-secondary institutions. For the 2018-2019 academic year this amount is $7,334. This fund can be used by full or part time students pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Contact:

Ohio Department of Higher Education
Attn: Tamika Braswell
25 South Front Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 728-8862
Fax: (614) 466-5866
E-mail: tbraswell@highered.ohio.gov
Website: www.ohiohighered.org


NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Kids’ Chance of Ohio

Attn: Robert A. Minor
52 East Gay Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
E-mail: raminor@vorys.com
Website: www.kidschanceohio.org

Kids’ Chance of Ohio awards scholarships to children ages 16-25 of Ohio workers fatally injured or rendered disabled as due to work-related accidents or occupational disease. Scholarship awards can be used for Trade School, Vocational School, Industrial Training, Junior College, Community College, Undergraduate and Graduate School. Scholarships may be put toward tuition, books, or room and board. Scholarship amounts vary by applicant but are up to $5,000 per year.

Ohio State Firefighters Association

Attn: Mark Resanovich, President
P.O. Box 400
Mogadore, OH 44260-0400
Phone: (888) 414-6732
Website: www.ohiofirefighters.org

Members of the Ohio State Firefighters Association are eligible for a $1,000 Line of Duty Death benefit. OSFA also offers an insurance plan with various benefits.

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

Survivors receiving a pension from the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund as described above are eligible for a health plan benefit. Prior to 1 January 2019, this benefit is membership in a group health plan. Starting 1 January 2019 OP&F is switching to a health care stipend plan. This plan gives retirees and survivors a monthly deposit into a health reimbursement account (HRA) as a way to be reimbursed for certain out of pocket health care costs such as premiums for coverage and other eligible health expenses.
For a surviving spouse with or without children, this benefit is $685 per month if the spouse is not on Medicare and $250 per month if they are. These amounts are current as of November 2018.

Contact:

Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund
140 East Town Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 228-2975
TTY: (614) 221-3846
Fax: (614) 628-1777
E-mail: questions@op-f.org
Website: www.op-f.org


TAX ABATEMENT

Ohio 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.