South Carolina Survivor Benefits

Updated December 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

South Carolina does not have a one-time death benefit payment for its firefighters.


WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

A weekly payment equal to 66-2/3% of the workers’ average weekly wages up to the state’s average weekly wage, for a period of 500 weeks from the date of the injury shall be paid to the worker’s dependents. Spouses, children under the age of 19 or under 23 if a full-time student, and children incapable of self-support are presumed to be dependents. Other family members may be considered dependent based on the particulars of the situation.

As of 1 January 2018, the state average weekly wage is $838.21.

Contact:

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission
1333 Main Street, Suite 500
Columbia, SC 29202
Phone: (803) 737-5700
Website: wcc.sc.gov
E-mail: Contact Directory

(Reference: SC Code, Section 42-9-290)

COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

Any impairment or injury to the health of a firefighter caused by heart disease or respiratory disease resulting in total or partial disability or death is presumed to have arisen out of and in the course of employment. The impairment must have developed while actively engaged in fighting a fire or within 24 hours from the date of last service in the activity. The firefighter must have been under the age of 37 upon entry to the service and passed a physical examination which failed to reveal any evidence of such condition.

South Carolina does not have any laws pertaining to the presumption of cancer as an occupational disease for firefighters.

(Reference: SC Code, Section 42-11-30)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Workers’ Compensation law requires employers to pay for burial expenses up to $12,000.

Contact:

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission
1333 Main Street, Suite 500
Columbia, SC 29202-1715
Phone: (803) 737-5700
Website: wcc.sc.gov
E-mail: Contact Directory

(Reference: SC Code, Section 42-9-290)

RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

Call/Volunteer Firefighters

Length of Service Award Programs (LOSAP) provide volunteer firefighters with department provided money for use as a retirement benefit. In the case of a volunteer firefighter dying in the line of duty, a LOSAP program will pay out the full vested amount in the firefighter’s account to their survivors.

Career Firefighters

Members of the Police Officers Retirement System, which can include judges, coroners, and paid firefighters, receive a one-time payment equal to their annual compensation plus either their accumulated contributions to the system or $1,000, whichever is greater. This benefit is payable to a spouse or other designated beneficiary. The beneficiary may also be eligible for a monthly payment for the rest of their life, based on what coverage the employer has chosen.

Cities in the state of South Carolina are able to set up their own pension systems for firefighters which may offer different benefits than those listed above.

Contact:

South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority
202 Arbor Lake Drive
Columbia, SC 29223
Phone: (803) 737-6800
Website: http://www.peba.sc.gov/
E-mail: Contact Form

(Reference: SC Code, Sections 9-11-110, 9-11-120, 9-11-125, 9-13-10)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

Children of firefighters, paid or volunteer, killed in the line of duty shall have their tuition waived for up to 4 years at any state-supported college, university, vocational school, or technical school. This cannot be applied toward graduate work.

Contact:

South Carolina Commission on Higher Education
1122 Lady Street, Suite 300
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 737-2260
Fax: (803) 737-2297
Website: www.che.sc.gov

(Reference: SC Code, Section 59-111-110)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

The above education benefit does not extend to spouses of fallen firefighters.

(Reference: SC Code, Section 59-111-110)

NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Kids’ Chance of South Carolina, Inc.

P.O. Box 2957
Georgetown, SC 29442-2957
Phone: (843) 546-5937
Website: www.kidschancesc.org
E-mail: angie@kidschancesc.org
Kids’ Chance of South Carolina offers scholarships to students with a parent who has been seriously or fatally injured in a workplace accident in the state of South Carolina, causing financial need. The applicant must be under the age of 25 and have achieved a high school diploma by the time of the first disbursement of the scholarship award. Applicant must be entering to study or already studying and attending an accredited two or four-year University or vocational school. The scholarships vary in amount based on demonstrated need and available funds, and are available for up to 4 years.

South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association

111 Westpark Boulevard
Columbia, SC 29210
Phone: (803) 454-1800
Fax: (803)454-1801
Website: www.scfirefighters.org
E-mail: info@scfirefighters.org

SCSFA offers the following benefits to its members in the case of death: $5,000 accidental death, $25,000 LODD or covered illness, and $10,000 dependent child benefit. The SCSFA also has a retirement plan which pays out the full vested amount in the firefighter’s account balance.
Contact: South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association

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 BENEFIT

Spouses and children covered under the State Health Plan, State Dental Plan or State Vision Plan through the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority shall have their health and dental premiums waived for the first year after the firefighter’s death. After that they may elect to continue coverage with some employers contributing part of the premium.

Reach out to your fire department’s benefits coordinator for full details.


TAX ABATEMENT

A surviving spouse is exempt from the property tax on their primary residence and up to an acre of land on which it resides so long as the spouse remains unmarried and owns the residence in fee or for life.

Contact:

South Carolina Department of Revenue Main Office

300A Outlet Pointe Boulevard
Columbia, SC 29210
Phone: (803) 898-5000
Website: dor.sc.gov/tax/exempt-property
E-mail: PropertyTax@dor.sc.gov

(Reference: SC Code, Section 12-37-220)

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.