Oklahoma Survivor Benefits

Updated November 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

A one-time payment of $100,000 shall be awarded to a surviving spouse, and a one-time payment of $25,000 shall be awarded to each dependent child. The maximum total amount payable is $150,000. If there are 3 or more children and a spouse, the children shall equally split $50,000. If there are 7 or more children and no spouse, the children shall equally split $150,000.

Under Workers’ Compensation Law, dependent children are biological or adopted children that are under the age of 18, or under 23 if enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited educational institution, or physically or mentally incapable of self-support.

Contact:

Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission
1915 North Stiles Avenue
Suite 231
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: (405) 522-3222
Website: www.ok.gov/wcc

(Reference: Oklahoma Statutes Title 85A, Section 47)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

A surviving spouse shall be paid the lesser of 70% of the deceased’s average weekly wage and the state average weekly wage. They shall receive this payment until death or remarriage. Upon remarriage, they shall receive a lump sum payment equal to two years worth of these weekly payments.

If there are one or two dependent children with a surviving spouse, the children shall receive 15% of the deceased’s average weekly wage each. Three or more children shall equally split 30%.

If there are one or two dependent children without a surviving spouse, the children shall receive 50% of the deceased’s average weekly wage each. Three or more children shall equally split 100%.

Payments to a child cease upon that child turning 18, or 23 if enrolled in school, or is capable of self support.
The state average weekly wage for 2019 is $867.71.

Computation of average weekly wages for volunteer firefighters shall be determined by using the wages of the employee in their regular occupation.

Contact:

Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission
1915 North Stiles Avenue
Suite 231
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: (405) 522-3222
Website: www.ok.gov/wcc

(Reference: Oklahoma Statutes Title 85A, Section 59)

COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

A cardiovascular, coronary, pulmonary, respiratory, or cerebrovascular accident or myocardial infarction causing death is a compensable injury if the course and scope of employment was the major cause. It must be shown that the exertion of the work necessary to cause death was extraordinary and unusual in comparison to the firefighter’s usual work or that some unusual and unpredicted incident occurred which is found to have been the major cause of the physical harm. Physical or mental stress shall not be considered in determining whether the claimant has met their burden of proof.

The following applies only to the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System. Any member of the fire department of any municipality who is disabled as a result of heart disease, injury to the respiratory system, infectious disease, or the existence of any cancer, the existence of which was not revealed by the physical examination passed by the member upon entry into the department, shall be presumed to have incurred such while performing their duties as a firefighter unless the contrary is shown by competent evidence. “Infectious disease” means hepatitis, human immunodeficiency virus (H.I.V.), meningitis and tuberculosis.

(Reference: Oklahoma Statutes Title 85A, Section 14 and Title 11, Section 49-110)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Under Workers’ Compensation Law, the employer shall pay the actual funeral expenses not to exceed the sum of $10,000.

Contact:

Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission
1915 North Stiles Avenue
Suite 231
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: (405) 522-3222
Website: www.ok.gov/wcc

(Reference: Oklahoma Statutes Title 85A, Section 47)

RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

For firefighters covered under the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System, their survivors are entitled to a monthly pension which is the greater of:
Fifty% of the average monthly salary which was paid to the firefighter during the last 30 months of the firefighter’s service; or
2.5% of the firefighter’s final average salary multiplied by the member’s years of credited service, not to exceed 30 years, provided such firefighter has completed 20 or more years of credited service. This is effectively 50 to 75% of the firefighter’s final average salary.
If the firefighter is survived by a spouse, that spouse is entitled to this pension for the rest of their life. Should the spouse die while any children are still considered dependent or if the deceased leaves only dependent children and no spouse, each dependent child shall have an equal share of the same pension for as long as they are considered a dependent.
Some municipalities use local firefighter pension and retirement boards with varying benefits.

Contact:

Firefighters Pension and Retirement System
6601 Broadway Extension, Suite 100
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
Phone: (405) 522-4600
Fax: (405) 522-4643
Contact: Contact Us Form
Website: www.ok.gov/fprs

(Reference: Oklahoma Statutes Title 11, Section 49-112)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

Within The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, no resident tuition or nonresident tuition shall be charged to the children of Oklahoma firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty. This waiver of tuition shall be good for a period of 5 years.

Contact:

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
655 Research Parkway
Suite 200
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Phone: (405) 255-9100
E-mail: communicationsdepartment@osrhe.edu
Wesbite: www.okhighered.org


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

The benefit described above does not apply to spouses.

(Reference: Oklahoma Statutes Title 70, Section 3218.7)

NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Kids’ Chance of Oklahoma

1901 N. Walnut Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: (405) 962-3245
Contact: Contact Us Form
Website: https://www.kidschanceok.org/

Kids’ Chance of Oklahoma offers scholarships to students with a parent who has been seriously or fatally injured in a workplace accident in the state of Oklahoma. The scholarships can be used at any U.S. institution of higher learning and vary in amount based on demonstrated need and available funds.

Volunteer Firefighters Association of Oklahoma

Attn: Buddy Myers
P.O. Box 788
Chickasha, Oklahoma 73023
Contact: Contact Us Form
Website: https://www.volunteerfirefightersassociationoklahoma.org/

Members are covered by an Accidental Death & Dismemberment policy for up to $20,000.

Oklahoma State Firefighters Association

2716 NE 50th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
Phone: (405) 424-1452
Fax: (405) 424-1032
Contact: Contact Us Form
Website: www.osfa.info

Members of the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association are entitled to a $2,000 Line of Duty Death Benefit delivered in less than 24 hours to the surviving family, an Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefit of $4,000, and a minimum of $2,000 if they are also a member of the Brent Hatcher Benevolent Fund.

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

Health Insurance continuation, benefits, and cost vary by municipality. In general, the surviving spouse and children may continue to elect coverage under any health insurance plan offered by the municipality that employed the firefighter, including any health plans targeted for retirees and Medicare eligible retirees. The municipality may cover part or all of the premiums for the plan, but in no case should the premiums paid by the survivors be more than 125% what current employees of the municipality pay for their premiums.

(Reference: Oklahoma Statutes Title 11, Section 23-108 )

TAX ABATEMENT

Oklahoma 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.


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.