Vermont Survivor Benefits

Updated November 2018

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

A monetary benefit up to $50,000 is available from the Emergency Personnel Survivors Review Board. Survivors of a firefighter (career or volunteer) who dies in the line of duty or from an occupation-related illness. 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.


COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY OF FIREFIGHTERS FROM OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES

In the case of a firefighter, as defined in 20 V.S.A. subsection 3151 (3) and (4), who dies or has a disability from a cancer listed in subdivision (iv) , the firefighter shall be resumed to have had the cancer as a result of exposure to conditions in the line-of-duty, unless it is shown by a preponderance of evidence that the cancer was caused by nonservice-connected risk factors or exposure. There are exclusions that should be understood. For example, the presumption shall not apply to any firefighter who has used tobacco products at any time within 10 years of the date of diagnosis. The disabling cancers shall be limited to leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma, and cancers originating in the bladder, brain, colon, gastrointestinal tract, kidney, liver, pancreas, skin or testicles.

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:

Emergency Personnel Review Board
Office of the State Treasurer

109 State Street, 4th Floor
Montpelier, VT 05609
Phone: 802-828-2301
Website: www.vermonttreasurer.gov

(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.

Volunteer Firefighters

The employee’s average weekly wage will be based on the firefighter’s regular civilian 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) 828-2286
E-mail: wcomp@labind.state.vt.us
Website: labor.vermont.gov/workers-compensation/

(Reference: Vermont Statute Title 21, Chapter 009; 21 VAS sub-section 632)

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Maximum of $10,000 for burial expenses. Maximum of $5,000 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) 828-2286
E-mail: wcomp@labind.state.vt.us
Website: labor.vermont.gov/workers-compensation/

(Reference: Vermont Statute Title 21, Chapter 009; 21 VAS sub-section 632)

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, C or D 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. Municipalizes select which group their employees will belong.

Benefit Comparison Chart

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.
State firefighters are covered under a different state retirement system regarding a death-in-service survivor benefits.

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: Vermont Municipal Employees Retirement System, Vermont Statute Title 24, Chapter 125)

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

None.


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

None.


NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

Kids’ Chance of Vermont

98 Merchants Row
Rutland, VT 05701
Tel: 802-78-1000
Website: www.kidschanceofvermont.org
E-mail: info@kidschanceofvermont.org

Kids’ Chance is a 501(c)(3) organization that was created for the purpose of creating, assisting and supporting Kids’ Chance organizations throughout the United States and other similar programs that provide educational opportunities and scholarships for the children of workers seriously injured or killed on the job.
Scholarships are intended to assist in obtaing vocational, college or post-graduate education. The scholarship is good for one year, and maybe contingent upon grades. Scholarshps may cover tuition, books, supplies, housing, meals and other expenses not covered by other grants and/or scholarships.

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.


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.