South Carolina Survivor Benefits

Survivor BenefitsUpdated October 2013




Death benefit is divided between spouse and children who were wholly dependent on the deceased at the time of death. Spouse receives no less than 50% of the benefit. Minimum and maximum amounts apply. Includes payment of medical costs associated with death. Children are considered dependent until age 19, age 23 if a full-time student, or longer if incapable of self-support.

Death caused by heart disease or respiratory disease shall be presumed to have arisen out of and in the course of employment if the firefighter was under the age of 37 and the death occurred while actively engaged in fighting a fire or within 24 hours from the date of last service. Firefighter must also have successfully passed a physical examination by a competent physician upon entering into service at the department.

Career firefighters: 500 weeks of compensation at 66 2/3% of the employee’s average weekly wages for the preceding year.

Volunteer firefighters: 500 weeks of compensation at 37 1/2% of the state’s average weekly wages for the preceding year. For 2005, the state’s average weekly wage is $681.36.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission
1333 Main Street, Suite 500
P.O. Box 1715
Columbia, SC 29202-1715
Phone: (803) 737-5700
Fax: (803) 737-1234

(Reference: Title 42-9-290)


Maximum of $2,500 for burial expenses.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission
1333 Main Street, Suite 500
P.O. Box 1715
Columbia, SC 29202-1715
Phone: (803) 737-5700
Fax: (803) 737-1234


Effective July 1, 2012, the South Carolina General Assembly created the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA).

All insurance and retirement benefits applicable to state employees will be administered and regulated by this body. Local jurisdictions in the state are eligible for partipation acceptance by the PEBA board of directors.

Employees and survivors participating in the former Employee Insurance Program (EIP) or the state retirment system will continue to receive benefits as they are accustomed.

There are a number of changes regarding employer and employee contribution rates spread over several years. Survivors or representatives should contact their local jurisdiction or PEBA as listed below.

South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA)
P.O. Box 11661 (Mailing Address)
Columbia, SC 29211-1661
Phone: (803) 737-6800 (Main Number)
Phone: (803) 734-0678 (Insurance Benefits)
Toll Free: (888) 260-9430 (Outside the Columbia Area)
Toll Free (in South Carolina): (800) 868-9002
Website: (Insurance Information)
Website: (Insurance Information)

South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA)
(Physical Address)
202 Arbor Lake Drive
Columbia, SC 29223


Tuition waived for four years of undergraduate study at state-supported colleges, universities, or vocational or technical schools. Children must be 18-22 years of age at the time of application. Applies to career and volunteer firefighters.

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

(Reference: SC Code 59-110-111)




Pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of Article X of the state constitution and subject to the provisions of Section 12-4-720, there is exempt from Ad Valorem Taxation:

  1. The house owned by an eligible owner in a fee or jointly with a spouse.
  2. The house owned by a qualified surviving spouse acquired from the deceased spouse and a house subsequently acquired by an eligible surviving spouse. The qualified surviving spouse shall inform the Department of Revenue of the address of the subsequent house.
  3. When a trustee holds legal title to a dwelling for a beneficiary and the beneficiary is a person who qualifies otherwise for the exemptions provided above and the beneficiary uses the dwelling as the beneficiary’s domicile, the dwelling is exempt from propety taxation in the same amount and manner as dwellings are exempt pursuant to the above subitems.

Eligible Owner Means: A former firefighter, including a volunteer firefighter as further defined in Chapter 80 of Title 40, who is permanently and totally disabled as a result of firefighting service connected disability;

Permanently and Totally Disabled Means: The inability to to perform substantial gainful employment by reason of a medically determinable impairment, either physical or mental, that has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of twelve (12) months or more or results in death;

Qualified Surviving Spouse Means: The surviving spouse of an individual described above while remaining unmarried, who resides in the house and who owns the house in fee or for life. Qualified surviving spouse also referes to the surviving spouse of a firefighter who died in the line of duty as a firefighter who at the time of death owned the house in fee or jointly with the now surviving spouse, if the surviving spouse remains unmarried, resides in the house and has acquired ownership of the house in fee or for life.

South Carolina Department of Revenue
PO Box 125
Columbia, SC 29214
Phone: (803) 898-5482
Email: SC Department of Revenue, Property Tax
Website: SC Department of Revenue


Kids’ Chance of South Carolina, Inc.
P.O. Box 2957
Georgetown, SC 29442-2957
Phone: (843) 546-5937
Scholarships are available for children whose parent died from an employment-related accident in which the parent is entitled to receive benefits under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. Must be age 16-25 and have financial need.

South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association
P.O. Box 211725 (Mailing Address)
Columbia, SC 29221-6725
111 Westpark Boulevard (Physical Address)
Columbia, SC 29210
Phone: (803) 454-1800
Toll Free: (800) 277-2732
Fax: (803)454-1801

Provides $25,000 one-time death benefit to members’ survivors. $10,000 is provided per dependent child. $5,000 seat belt benefit. Other benefits may also apply.

100 Club of South Carolina, Inc.
Box 687
Mt Pleasant, SC 29465
Phone: (843) 559-5764
Offers $2,500 lump sum and some education assistance.

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


The spouse or dependent of a firefighter covered by the state health and dental insurance plans who is killed in the line of duty after December 31, 2001 shall receive equivalent coverage under the plans for a period of 12 months and the State shall be responsible for paying the full premium costs. After the 12-month period, the spouse is eligible for state-paid premiums until remarriage. After the 12-month period, a dependent is eligible for state-paid premiums until coverage under the plans would ordinarily terminate.

Employee Insurance Program
South Carolina Budget and Control Board
1201 Main Street, Suite 300
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 734-0678 (Columbia Area)
Toll Free: (888) 260-9430



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.