Vermont Survivor Benefits

Survivor BenefitsUpdated July 2011

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

A benefit of $50,000 from the Firefighters’ Survivors Expendable Trust Fund for the survivors of a firefighter (career or volunteer) who dies in the line of duty or from an occupation-related illness. Line of duty includes answering or returning from a call for a fire or emergency or training drill. Occupational-related illness means a disease that directly arises out of, and in the course of, service. This includes a heart injury or disease symptomatic within 72 hours from the date of last service in the line of duty.

This legislation covers firefighters who are members of state, municipal, or county fire departments or privately-organized fire departments. As of 2005, EMTs are included in the one time death benefit.

Survivors must apply to the Firefighters’ Survivors Benefit Review Board for the monetary award. If the Board decides to award a monetary benefit, it shall be paid to the surviving spouse, or if no spouse at the time of death, to the surviving child, or equally among surviving children. Natural or legally adopted children are eligible, regardless of age. If there is no spouse or children, the natural or adoptive parent or parents shall receive the benefit.

Contact:
Department of Public Safety
Division of Fire Safety
Office of the State Fire Marshal
1311 U.S. Route 302 – Berlin, Suite 600
Barre, VT 05641-2351
Phone: (802) 479-7561
Fax: (802) 479-7562
Website: www.dps.state.vt.us/fire

(Reference: Vermont Statutes Chapter 181 20 VSA § 3172)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Benefit is 66 2/3% of employee’s average weekly wages for spouse if there are no dependent children, 71 2/3% for spouse and one dependent child, and 76 2/3% for spouse with two or more dependent children. If there is no spouse, benefit is divided among dependent children. Minimum and maximum amounts apply. The spouse will not receive less than 330 times the maximum weekly compensation. Spouse is eligible until 62 if entitled to benefits under the social security act or until remarriage. Children are considered dependent until age 18 or longer if regularly enrolled in an approved educational or vocational training institution or incapable of self-support.

Line of duty as applied to firefighters means:

Service in the worker’s town or district, in answer to a call, including going to and returning from a fire or emergency or participating in a fire or emergency drill, parade, test, or trial of any firefighting or emergency equipment; Similar service in another town or district to which the department has been called; Service under orders of any department officer in any other emergency to which the department is called; Activities authorized by the department for the purpose of raising funds for the department or a heart injury or disease symptomatic within 72 hours from the date of last service at a fire.

A 2007 change in state law requires insurance companies honor a workers’ compensation claim while bearing the burden of proof that a firefighter’s injury was not work-related. Presumptive clause also covers cancer.

Volunteer firefighters: The employee’s average weekly wage will be based on the firefighter’s regular employment.

Contact:
Workers’ Compensation Division
State Department of Labor and Industry

5 Green Mountain Drive
PO Box 488
Montpelier, VT 05601-0488
Phone: (802) 828-4000
Fax: (802) 828-4002
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: labor.vermont.gov/workers-compensation/


FUNERAL BENEFIT

Maximum of $5,500 for burial expenses. Maximum of $1,000 for out-of-state transportation of the deceased to the place of burial.

Contact:
Workers’ Compensation Division
State Department of Labor and Industry

5 Green Mountain Drive
PO Box 488
Montpelier, VT 05601-0488
Phone: (802) 828-4000
Fax: (802) 828-4002
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: labor.vermont.gov/workers-compensation/


RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN (MEMBERS ONLY)


Career firefighters: Must be a member of the Vermont Municipal Employees’ Retirement System to receive benefits. An accidental and occupationally related death benefit is paid to the dependent beneficiary. The benefit amount is based on years of service.

If a Group A, B or C member had at least 5 years of creditable service at the time of death, the designated dependent beneficiary may choose to receive a monthly benefit for the rest of his/her life as though the member had retired on the date of death and elected the “Option 1” 100% Survivorship plan. No previous election is required of the member. The choice is automatic for the surviving designated beneficiary. If the beneficiary wishes, the lump sum return of contributions may be elected instead of the monthly benefits.

The designated dependent beneficiary of a Group D member would receive an automatic 70% spousal survivorship with no reduction in the retirees benefit.

If survivor does not meet eligibility requirements for a survivor benefit or if the deceased did not have a designated dependent beneficiary, the lump sum value of the contributions and interest will be paid to the designated beneficiary or estate.

Contact:
Vermont Municipal Employees’ Retirement System
109 State Street
4th Floor
Montpelier, VT 05609-6200
Phone: (802) 828-2305
Website: www.vermonttreasurer.gov/content/retirement

(Reference: VMERS Handbook, Page 6)


EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

None.


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

None.


NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

None.


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.