West Virginia Survivor Benefits

Updated November 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

The West Virginia Fire and EMS Survivor Benefits Act provides a $50,000 one-time death benefit for firefighters and EMTs – career, volunteer and part-paid.

Contact:

Office of the Governor
State Capitol
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston, WV 25305
Phone: (304) 558-2000
Website: governor.wv.gov

(Reference: West Virginia code Chapter 5H, Survivor Benefits Article, 1. West VIRGINIA CODE CHAPTER 5H, Article 1, Survivor Benefit Act, 2018)

COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

West Virginia was the 43rd state in the nation to sign a firefighter presumption bill into law. The bill only covers firefighters diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, but additional types of cancer will be covered in the future. The law covering cancer went into effect in 2018. Previous legislation covered cardiovascular disease and occupational pneumoconiosis (Code of West Virginia, 23-4-1).

Contact:

Office of the Governor
State Capitol
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston, WV 25305
Phone: (304) 558-2000
Website: governor.wv.gov

(Reference: West Virginia code Chapter 5H, Survivor Benefits Article, 1. West VIRGINIA CODE CHAPTER 5H, Article 1, Survivor Benefit Act, 2018)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Spousal benefit is 70% of the employee’s average weekly wages. Minimum and maximum amounts apply. Upon remarriage, spousal benefit is terminated. Children are considered dependent until age 18, age 25 if full-time student at an accredited school, or longer to an invalid child if incapable of self-support.
Volunteer firefighters: All volunteer departments are considered employers and are required to subscribe to the state fund and pay premiums for the protection of their employees. If the firefighter had no other source of employment, the benefit rate is the state minimum.

Contact:

Workers’ Compensation Commission
P.O. Box 50540
Charleston, WV 25305-0540
Phone: (304) 558-6279
Website: www.wvinsurance.gov

(Reference: West Virginia Code Chapter 23-11-2)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Maximum of $8,000 for burial expenses.

Contact:

Department of Military Affairs & Public Safety
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston, WV 25305
Phone: (304) 558-2930
Website: www.Dmaps.wv.gov

(Reference: West Virginia Code Chapter 23, 15-11-2)

RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN


Career firefighters: Must be a member of the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System to receive benefits. The surviving spouse of any member who, while in covered employment, has died or dies by reason of injury, illness or disease resulting from an occupational risk or hazard inherent in or peculiar to the service required of members, while the member was or is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a firefighter, or the surviving spouse of a member who dies from any cause after having been retired with a duty related disability, is entitled to receive in equal monthly installments during his or her lifetime an amount equal to the greater of 2 /3 of the annual compensation received in the preceding 12 month period by the deceased member; or if the member dies after his or her normal retirement age, the monthly amount the spouse would have received had the member retired the day before his or her death and elected a 100% Joint and Survivor annuity with the spouse as the joint annuitant, and then died.

Contact the local department benefit’s officer if a member was not part of the WV-PERS as several of the larger cities may provide independent retirement systems.

Download Brochure with Benefits Chart

Contact:

State of West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board
4101 MacCorkle Avenue, SE
Charleston, WV 25304-1636
Phone: (304) 558-3670
Toll Free: (800) 654-4406
Fax: (304) 558-7522
Website: www.wvretirement.com


EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

Tuition waived and some fees covered at state institutions of higher learning. Covers full-time undergraduate education for no more than four years.

Contact:

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
1018 Kanawha Boulevard East, Suite 700
Charleston, WV 25301-2800
Phone: (304) 558-2101
Fax: (304) 558-1011
Website: www.wvhepc.edu

(Reference:West Virginia Code §18B-10)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Tuition waived and some fees covered at state institutions of higher learning. Covers full-time undergraduate education for no more than four years.

Contact:

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
1018 Kanawha Boulevard East, Suite 700
Charleston, WV 25301-2800
Phone: (304) 558-2101
Fax: (304) 558-1011
Website: www.wvhepc.edu

(Reference:West Virginia Code §18B-10)

NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Kids’ Chance West Virginia

Attn: Robert L. Stultz, President
P.O. Box 11283
Charleston, WV 25339
Phone: (304) 269-1311
Website: kidschancewv.org
E-mail: kidschancewv@hotmail.com

Kids’ Chance of West Virginia is a nonprofit organization which provides scholarships to the sons and daughters of West Virginia residents who have been seriously, catastrophically or fatally injured in a work-related accident. Too often these children lack the financial resources to attend an accredited trade school, vocational school, college or university. Kids’ Chance provides scholarships that allow them to pursue a degree or certificate in any field of study at both in-state and out of state schools.

West Virginia State Firemen’s Association

195 South Ford Estates Lane
Moorefield, WV 26836
E-mail: Contact Form

This organization offers a death benefit for members between the ages of 18 and 50 and members of a department is in good standing with the West Virginia State Fireman’s Association. Member must have enrolled in this program and paid a nominal fee.

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.


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.