Wisconsin Survivor Benefits

Survivor BenefitsUpdated September 2016

ONE-TIME DEATH BENEFIT

Career and Volunteer: Death must result from accidental injuries related to the performance of duties. The benefit is determined by multiplying the firefighter’s average annual earnings by four. The final benefit is 75% of that amount, but not less than $50,000. The primary death benefit for volunteers is based on four times the annual earnings of full-time paid firefighters with similar experience in the nearest municipality. If there are more than four dependents, an additional benefit of $2,000 will be paid for each dependent in excess of four. This additional amount is not included in the set maximum. The effect of “heart-related” causes on payment under this section: The statute requires that the death arises from “an accidental injury” while in performance of his or her duties. Unlike the statutes covering disability payments which allow for injury or disease, this statute specifies accidental injury. In most cases this one-time death benefit would not be paid to an officer dying of “heart-related causes”.

Health Insurance: Coverage will continue for the surviving spouse if, at the time of death, the firefighter was an active employee and had family coverage in place. Survivor must continue to pay premiums.

Contact:
Workers’ Compensation Division
Department of Workforce Development
PO Box 7946 (Mailing Address)
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Phone: (608) 266-1340
Fax: (608) 267-0394
Website: dwd.wisconsin.gov/wc

Workers’ Compensation Division
Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue (Physical Address)
Madison, WI 53703

(Reference: Statute 102.475)

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Spousal benefit is four times the employee’s average annual earnings up to a capped maximum. Benefits are paid monthly at a rate of 66 2/3% of employee’s average weekly wages. After payment of primary death benefit ends, payment to dependent children continues at a rate of 10% of the surviving spouse’s weekly indemnity. Children are considered dependent until age 18 or longer if disabled. If spouse remarries, death benefit will be reassigned to minor children in separate bank accounts. If no minor children, spouse continues to receive benefit.

Volunteer firefighters: Weekly benefit is based on the wages of full-time paid firefighters with similar experience in the nearest municipality.

Contact:
Workers’ Compensation Division
Department of Workforce Development
PO Box 7946 (Mailing Address)
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Phone: (608) 266-1340
Fax: (608) 267-0394
Website: www.dwd.state.wi.us/wc

Workers’ Compensation Division
Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue (Physical Address)
Madison, WI 53703

(Reference: Statute 102.44 (3))

FUNERAL BENEFIT

Maximum of $6,000 for burial expenses.

Contact:
Workers’ Compensation Division
Department of Workforce Development
PO Box 7946 (Mailing Address)
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Phone: (608) 266-1340
Fax: (608) 267-0394
Website: www.dwd.state.wi.us/wc

Workers’ Compensation Division
Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue (Physical Address)
Madison, WI 53703


RETIREMENT/PENSION PLAN

Career firefighters: Only Wisconsin Retirement System participants are eligible. The benefit to the spouse can either be a lump sum or an annuity (monthly) payment. If the firefighter dies before age 50, the benefit is twice the amount of the employee required contribution balance, plus any voluntary additional contributions in the account. If the firefighter dies after age 50, the benefit is the greater of: (1) the benefit provided if under 50 years of age or (2) the amount based on both employee and employer contributions and calculated as if the firefighter retired at the date of death and selected a joint and survivor annuity.

Contact:
Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds
P.O. Box 7931
Madison, WI 53707-7931

or

801 W. Badger Road
Madison, WI 53713-2526
Phone: (877) 533-5020 or (608) 266-3285
Fax: (608) 266-3285
Website: etf.wi.gov

Volunteer firefighters: A new program provides length-of-service awards for volunteer firefighters. Municipalities may make annual contributions to individual’s account. The state will match that amount with a current limit of $267 per account. This amount is adjusted annually. The beneficiary of a firefighter who dies in the line of duty will be entitled to the participant’s full service award either in a lump sum or in a manner specified by rule, consisting of all municipal and state contributions made on behalf of the volunteer firefighter and all the earnings on the contributions.

Contact:
Length of Service Award Program
Department of Administration
101 East Wilson Street
PO Box 8944
Madison, WI 53702-8944
Phone: (608) 261-6580
Website: www.doa.state.wi.us
E-mail: doaweb@doa.state.wi.us

(Reference: WI DETF Death Benefits (ET-6101))

EDUCATION BENEFIT – CHILDREN

Program and material fees waived to any resident undergraduate student who is enrolled in a bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or technical diploma program at a state institution. Line-of-duty death must have occurred when the child was under age 21 or unborn. Stepchildren are eligible for this benefit. Student may not receive a readmission for more than five consecutive years in the University of Wisconsin System or for more than three consecutive years in the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Contact:
University of Wisconsin System
Academic Affairs Division 1730 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 262-3826
Fax: (608) 263-3985
Website:www.wisconsin.edu/vpacad
E-mail:vpacad@uwsa.edu

or

Wisconsin Technical College System Board
P.O. Box 7874 (Mailing Address)
Madison, WI 53707-7874
Phone: (608) 266-1207
Toll Free: (800) 947-6644
Website: www.wtcsystem.edu

Wisconsin Technical College System Office
4622 University Avenue (Physical Address)
Madison, WI 53705


EDUCATION BENEFIT – SPOUSE

Same as for children, except for age restriction.

Contact:
University of Wisconsin System Academic Affairs Division
1730 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706 Phone:
Phone: (608) 262-3826
Fax: (608) 263-3985
Website: www.wisconsin.edu/vpacad
E-mail: vpacad@uwsa.edu

– or –

Wisconsin Technical College System Board
P.O. Box 7874 (Mailing Address)
Madison, WI 53707-7874
Phone: (608) 266-1207
Toll Free: (800) 947-6644
Website: www.wtcsystem.edu

Wisconsin Technical College System Office
4622 University Avenue (Physical Address)
Madison, WI 53705


NON-PROFIT OR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS

WI State Firefighters Association
PO Box 126
Durand, WI 54736-0126
Phone: (715) 672-8407
Toll Free: (800) 588-2989
Website: www.wi-state-firefighters.org
E-mail: wsfa@wi-state-firefighters.org

Offers members a $1,500 accidental death benefit, whether on or off-duty.

Southwestern Wisconsin Northern Illinois Fire/Rescue Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 842
Roscoe, IL 61073-0842
Phone: (815) 721-1855
Website: www.swnifra.com
E-mail: SWNIFRAinc@AOL.com

The Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois Fire/Rescue Association, Inc. has an affiliated corporation called the SWNIFRA Death Benefit, Inc. A qualifying participant pays $30.00 annually and his or her beneficiary receives $3,200 upon the participant’s death ($6,200 if the death is firefighting related). Payment is usually made within 24 hours of the Plan’s secretary being notified. Member must have joined the plan before his or her 48th birthday.

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.


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.