Updated February 2024 (COVID-19 related benefits updated April 2021)
COVID-19-related first responder deaths are considered line-of-duty deaths under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program. Legislation passed in August 2020 established a statutory presumption for first responders who die from, or are disabled by complications related to, COVID-19. Prior to August, suspected cases were required to have proof that exposure occurred during their work duties.
ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFITS
- One-time $75,000 LODD benefit, provided the death is not the result of the member’s willful negligence, suicide, or intentionally self-inflicted bodily injury.
- The payment is increased to $150,000 if the public safety officer is killed in the line of duty and the death is a result of an unlawful and intentional act of another person, or the officer is killed while responding to an emergency or other similar incident.
South Carolina State Accident Fund
113 Reed Avenue
Lexington SC 29072
South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (S.C. PEBA)
202 Arbor Lake Drive
Columbia SC 29223
COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES
Reference: SC Code, Section 42-9-290
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.
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.
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.
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, 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 E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.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’ Association111 Westpark Boulevard Columbia, SC 29210 Phone: (803) 454-1800 Fax: (803)454-1801 E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.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. Member Benefits Summary
National Fallen Firefighters FoundationP.O. Box 498 Emmitsburg, MD 21727 Phone: (301) 4471-1365 FAX: (301) 4471-1645 Website: www.firehero.org The Sarbanes Scholarship Program Spouses, life partners, children, and stepchildren of firefighters honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial are eligible to apply for the NFFF Sarbanes Scholarship Program along with other partner programs. The NFFF Sarbanes Scholarships are awarded for undergraduate and graduate studies, vocational-technical training, and certification and job training programs. They may be used for study at in-state or out-of-state public and private schools.
The International Association of Fire Fighters1750 New York Avenue, NW Washington, DC 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.
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.
FUNERAL & CREMATION BENEFITS
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.
Reference: SC Code, Section 12-37-220
FUNERAL & CREMATION BENEFITS
Dignity MemorialPhone: (800) 343-4464
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. Also provides “extended counseling” to the grieving family. 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)
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.