Rhode Island Survivor Benefits

Benefits

Updated December 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

A one-time payment equal to 40% of the current Federal death benefits for firefighters killed in the line of duty shall be paid to the survivors of a fallen career or volunteer firefighter. For a death occurring between 1 October 2018 and 30 September 2019, this amounts to $143,726.40.

This benefit shall be paid as follows:
If there is no surviving child, to the surviving spouse or domestic partner;
If there is a surviving child or children and a surviving spouse or domestic partner, one-half to the surviving child or children in equal shares and one-half to the surviving spouse or domestic partner;
If there is no surviving spouse or domestic partner, to the child or children in equal shares;
If there is no surviving spouse, domestic partner, or surviving child, to the individual designated as beneficiary under the most recently executed life insurance policy; or

If none of the above, to the parent or parents of such officer in equal shares

Contact:

Relief of Injured and Deceased Police and Fire Fighters
Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training

1511 Pontiac Avenue, Building 73-2
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-8855
Website: http://www.dlt.ri.gov/firerelief.htm
E-mail: DLT.PoliceFire@dlt.ri.gov

(Reference: RI Gen L, Section 45-19-4.3)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Firefighters in the state of Pennsylvania are excluded from coverage under Workers’ Compensation law. The exception to this is Providence municipal employees, while other municipalities are able to pass laws to cover their municipal employees under the law. Please check with your local government and fire department for specifics.

For those covered by workers’ compensation, they shall be paid 75% the firefighter’s average weekly wages, not to exceed 125% the state average weekly wage, which is equal to $1567 as of 1 October 2018. Added to this amount shall be $40 per week per dependent child. Benefits cease upon remarriage.

Contact:

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training
Workers’ Compensation

Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-8100
Fax: (401) 462-8105
Website: http://www.dlt.ri.gov/wc/
Email: DLT.WCEdcUnit@dlt.ri.gov

(Reference: RI Gen L, Sections 28-29-2, 28-31-1, 28-31-1.1, 28-33-17)

COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

Any firefighter who is unable to perform their duties in the fire department by reason of a disabling occupational cancer which develops or manifests itself either while the firefighter is in the service or while retired is entitled to receive retirement and disability or death benefits. An occupational cancer is any cancer arising out of their employment as a fire fighter, due to injury from exposures to smoke, fumes, or carcinogenic, poisonous, toxic, or chemical substances while in the performance of active duty in the fire department.

For a paid firefighter, every condition of impairment of health caused by smoke inhalation of the lungs or respiratory tract resulting in total disability or death is presumed to have been suffered in the line of duty, unless the contrary is shown by competent evidence. This only applies in cities or towns which have accepted an ordinance allowing for such a presumption. The firefighter must have passed a physical examination upon entry into service or subsequent to entry which failed to reveal any evidence of the condition.

(Reference: RI Gen L, Sections 45-19-16, 45-19.1-3)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

For those covered under workers’ compensation law, a sum of $20,000 shall be paid for final expenses. For those who are not covered under workers’ compensation, please reach out to your fire department and the resources listed at the bottom of the page for funeral benefits.

Contact:

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training
Workers’ Compensation

Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-8100
Fax: (401) 462-8105
Website: http://www.dlt.ri.gov/wc/
Email: DLT.WCEdcUnit@dlt.ri.gov

(Reference: RI Gen L, Sections 28-33-16)

RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN


Rhode Island municipalities have the ability to establish their own pension systems. The laws governing the different options are below. Please check with your local municipality or fire department to confirm what benefits you can expect.

In municipalities that have adopted the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island, a firefighter’s survivors are entitled to a refund of the firefighter’s contributions to the ERSRI as well as a pension of 50% the rate of compensation of the member in effect at the date of death.
This benefit shall be paid as follows:

To a spouse or domestic partner, to continue for life unless the spouse remarries or enters into a domestic partnership; or

If there is no spouse or domestic partner, or if the spouse or domestic partner dies or remarries or enters into a domestic partnership before any child of the deceased member has attained the age of 18 years, then to the child or children under that age to continue until every child dies or attains that age, divided among the children in a manner that the retirement board determines; or

If there is no spouse, domestic partner, or child under the age 18, then to a dependent father or mother for life, if the deceased has nominated them in writing or at the board’s discretion.

The amount payable shall be reduced by the amount owed to the survivors due to a workers’ compensation claim.

Contact:

Employees Retirement System of Rhode Island
50 Service Avenue
Warwick, RI 02886
Phone: (401) 462-7600
Website: content.ersri.org
E-mail: Contact Form

Upon the death of any regular and permanent fire fighter, fire chief, or fire fighting official who was eligible to retire from the service of any city or town not covered under the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island, 67-1/2% of the benefits that would have been paid to the firefighter had they retired shall be paid to their dependent spouse for life or until remarriage, or if there is no spouse or the spouse remarries, then to any dependent children until they attain 18 years of age.

The following benefits are available for both career and volunteer firefighters, regardless of the pension system available to them. These benefits are also available firefighters that are a victim of homicide outside the line of duty.

If an active or retired member of the fire force of a city or town is killed or dies from injuries received while in the performance of their duties or dies of a heart condition, respiratory ailments, or any condition derived from hypertension while still a member, the fire fighter’s relief fund of Rhode Island shall pay their dependents an annuity.

A spouse or domestic partner shall be paid an annuity not exceeding $3,600 a year continuing as long as they remain unmarried or not in a domestic partnership.

$1,200 per child under the age of 18 or over the age and physically or mentally incapacitated from earning shall be paid to the spouse, domestic partner, or other guardian.

If the firefighter does not leave a spouse or domestic partner or dependent child, but does leave a dependent parent, that parent shall receive an annuity of $3,600 so long as the parent does not remarry and remains unable to support them self.

If the firefighter leaves no dependents, their parents shall receive a lump sum of $10,000.

Contact:

Relief of Injured and Deceased Police and Fire Fighters
Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training

1511 Pontiac Avenue, Building 73-2
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-8855
Website: www.dlt.ri.gov/firerelief.htm
E-mail: DLT.PoliceFire@dlt.ri.gov

(Reference: RI Gen L, Sections 45-19-12, 45-21-25, 45-21-31, 45-21.3-1)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

The state of Rhode Island shall reimburse the charges for tuition of children of deceased firefighters at any college or university operated by the state of Rhode Island. This benefit shall last at most 4 years, and is only available to students who entered the institution while between the ages of 16 and 21.

This benefit is also available to the children of firefighters that are a victim of homicide outside the line of duty.
Note that some fees may apply for withdrawn, incomplete or failed classes.

Contact:

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training
Department of Labor and Training
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-8855
Website: www.dlt.ri.gov/firerelief.htm
Email: DLT.PoliceFire@dlt.ri.gov

(Reference: Rhode Island Code 45-19-12.1)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Spouses are not covered under the benefit above.

(Reference: Rhode Island Code 45-19-12.1)

NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

100 Club of Rhode Island, Inc.
222 Chestnut Street
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 421-2500
Website: www.100clubri.com
$25,000 immediately provided to the spouse or children. Dependent children receive an education benefit of up to $3,500 per year. Children under age 18 receive an annual $1,000 bond in July.

The 100 Club of Rhode Island

222 Chestnut Street
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 421-2500
Website: 100clubri.com

The organization offers a $25,000 check for immediate financial support to the surviving family, as well as scholarship opportunities of up to $2,500 per year for college, vocational, and technical education.

Rhode Island State Firefighters’ League

PO Box 100236
Cranston, RI 02910
Phone: (401) 255-3759
Website: www.risfl.com
E-mail: Contact Form

A $10,000 AD&D double indemnity insurance policy through Provident Agency

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

Rhode Island law allows for survivors to continue coverage under a group health plan for up to 18 months. Contact your fire department or health insurance carrier for specific health benefits and costs.

(Reference:(Reference: RI Gen L, Section 27-19.1-1)

TAX ABATEMENT

Rhode Island 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.