Virginia Survivor Benefits

Survivor BenefitsUpdated July 2016

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

$100,000 to beneficiary if death occurred as a direct or proximate result of performance of duty. Effective as of January 1, 2006 per the state code and applicable to both career and volunteer firefighters.

If death was caused by a respiratory disease, hypertension, heart disease, or some forms of cancer, it may be presumed to be duty-related if it occurs out of or in the course of employment or within five years after retirement. In these cases, the beneficiary shall be entitled to receive the sum of $25,000.

Contact:
Office of the Comptroller
Department of Accounts
P.O. Box 1971 (Mailing Address)
Richmond, VA 23218-1971
Phone: (804) 225-3038
Fax: (804) 371-8587
Website: www.doa.va.gov
E-mail: compt@doa.virginia.gov

Office of the Comptroller
Department of Accounts
The James Monroe Building
101 N. 14th St, 2nd Floor (Physical Address)
Richmond, VA 23219-3638

(Reference: Virginia Line of Duty Act, Code of Virginia Section 9.1 – 0.1-402)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Benefit is 66 2/3% of employee’s average weekly wage. Minimum and maximum amounts apply and are adjusted annually. Benefits continue for a period of 500 weeks from the date of injury and are divided equally among total dependents. Dependents include surviving spouse and children under age 18, under age 23 if a full-time student, or longer if disabled. Stepchildren are eligible for benefits. Upon remarriage, spousal benefits are terminated and shall be divided among the children or other dependents.

Volunteer firefighters: Volunteer firefighters are considered employees if designated as such by their political subdivisions or if their companies elect to cover volunteers. When they are deemed employees, average weekly wage shall be deemed sufficient to produce the minimum compensation.

Contact:
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
1000 DMV Drive
Richmond, VA 23220
Phone: (877) 664-2566
Website: www.vwc.state.va.us
E-mail: Questions@workcomp.virginia.gov

(Reference: VA Statutes 65.2.512)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Maximum of $10,000 for burial expenses, plus up to $1,000 for transportation of the deceased. .

Contact:
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
1000 DMV Drive
Richmond, VA 23220
Phone: (877) 664-2566
Website: www.vwc.state.va.us
E-mail: Questions@workcomp.virginia.gov

(Reference: VA Statutes 65.2.512(b) )

RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN


Career firefighters: If a firefighter employed in a Virginia Retirement System position dies from work-related causes, the spouse, minor children, or parent receives 50% of the average final compensation if the beneficiary does not qualify for Social Security survivor benefits. If the beneficiary does qualify for Social Security, the retirement benefit is reduced to 33 1/3% of the average final compensation. This benefit is reduced by Workers’ Compensation benefits. The beneficiary also receives a refund of contributions and interest credited to the firefighter’s account.

Spouse’s monthly benefits continue throughout his or her lifetime, even after remarriage. If there are minor children at the time of remarriage, they will receive the monthly benefit until age 18. If survivor is a minor child, the benefit ends at age 18.

The death benefit is paid in addition to any life insurance coverage the firefighter may have had. The life insurance provides a double indemnity for accidental death.

Contact:
Virginia Retirement System (VRS)
1200 E. Main St, PO Box 2500
Richmond, VA 23218-2500
Phone: (804) 344-3190
Toll Free: (888) 827-3847
Website: www.varetire.org
E-mail: retiree-info@varetire.org

See VRS website for Benefit Payout Option Charts.

Volunteer firefighters: Members only. The amount the deceased firefighter contributed to the fund will be given to the beneficiary in a lump-sum payment upon death. Death benefits are payable to the spouse, or equally to the children if no spouse survives. Program not yet funded by state; member and/or members’ jurisdiction may make contributions.

Contact:
Volunteer Firefighters’ & Rescue Squad Workers’ Service Award Program
9020 Stony Point Parkway, Suite 200
Richmond, VA 23235
Phone: (804) 267-3116
or the Department/County’s VOLSAP representative.


EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

Undergraduate tuition and required educational and auxiliary fees waived for children ages 16-25 at any public institution of higher learning in Virginia.

Contact:
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
James Monroe Building
101 N. 14th Street, 10th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 225-2600
Fax: (804) 225-2604
Website: www.schev.edu
E-mail: communications@schev.edu

(Reference: Code 23-7.4:1)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Same as for children, except for age restriction

Contact:
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
James Monroe Building
101 N. 14th Street, 10th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 225-2600
Fax: (804) 225-2604
Website: www.schev.edu
E-mail: communications@schev.edu


NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

HEROES, Inc.
1100 G Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 638-6658
Website: www.heroes.org
Serves surviving families in Fairfax and Arlington Counties, as well as the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church. $5,000 for immediate expenses; $6,000 for funeral expenses. Further assistance provided shortly after death. Professional counseling provided for family members. Scholarships are available to the children and spouse of a deceased firefighter and may include room and board, tuition, books, and fees; renewable each year for four years of undergraduate education.

Virginia Public Safety Foundation
2201 West Main Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Phone: (804) 648-6299 x1004
Fax: (804) 359-9680
Website: www.vpsf.org
E-mail: vpsf@alliancegroupltd.com
Provides immediate payment of $2,000 to the families of firefighters killed in the line of duty. This is to help with necessary expenses until long-term benefits take effect.

Educational grants available to children and spouses. The grant may cover room and board or books (those expenses which the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia does not cover). Grief counseling and legal services also available.

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


HEALTH INSURANCE

Survivors eligible to receive state death benefits also qualify for continued health insurance coverage paid in full out of the state’s general fund. Spouse covered for life or until remarriage. Children covered until age 21, age 25 if full-time student, or longer if mentally or physically disabled.

Contact:
Office of the Comptroller
Department of Accounts
P.O. Box 1971 (Mailing Address)
Richmond, VA 23218-1971
Phone: (804) 225-3038
Fax: (804) 371-8587
Website: www.doa.virginia.gov
E-mail: compt@doa.virginia.gov

Office of the Comptroller
Department of Accounts
The James Monroe Building
101 N. 14th St, 2nd Floor (Physical Address)
Richmond, VA 23219-3638

See Virginia Line of Duty Death Act, Code of Virginia, and 9.1.401.


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.