MEMBERS & TRAINING

State Benefits

When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, families must adjust to life without their loved one. Too often, they must also face the loss of the primary breadwinner. While no amount of money or financial support can compensate for the loss of a loved one, benefits honor the service of firefighters and ensure their families are not forgotten.

 
 
 
 
Federal Public Safety Officers' Benefits

Federal Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program
 
A unique partnership effort of the U.S. Department of Justice; local, state, tribal, and federal public safety agencies; and national organizations, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Programs provide death and education benefits to survivors of fallen law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders, and disability benefits to officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty.

The BJA PSOB Office is honored to review the nearly 700 claims submitted each year on behalf of America's fallen and catastrophically disabled public safety heroes and their loved ones. 
 
The Bureau of Justice Assistance's Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program (PSOB) provides death benefits in the form of a one-time financial payment to the eligible survivors of public safety officers whose deaths are the direct result of a traumatic injury sustained in the line of duty. It also provides disability benefits for public safety officers who have been permanently and totally disabled by a catastrophic personal injury sustained in the line of duty, if that injury permanently prevents the officer from performing any substantial and gainful work. The Public Safety Officers' Educational Assistance Act provides financial assistance for higher education for the spouses and children of public safety officers who have been permanently disabled or killed in the line of duty.
 
 
Minnesota Death One-Time:

Death benefit was established at $100,000 to spouse or spouse and dependent children and increases periodically. The dependent children must be less than 23 years of age (age extended to 30 years of age for those who served on active military duty for at least 181 consecutive days and were honorably discharged or released). If no spouse or dependent children, payment to dependent parents. Benefit adjusted annually based on the consumer price index. As of October 1, 2011, benefit is $143,987.62.

Benefit for career and legally enrolled members of volunteer fire departments.

Contact:
Minnesota Department of Public Safety
Office of the Commissioner
444 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (651) 201-7000
Website: www.dps.state.mn.us

(Reference: Minnesota Statute 299A:44 )
 
 

Workers Compensation:

Covers all firefighters killed or disabled in the line of duty. Benefit for spouse with no children is 50% of employee's weekly wage at time of death; 60% for spouse with one child. Benefit for spouse with two or more children is 66 2/3%.

Benefit for spouse with no children lasts for 10 years. For spouse with children, benefit continues 10 years after last child is no longer dependent, at a rate equal to 50% of employee's weekly wage at time of death. Spousal benefit continues after remarriage.

Unmarried children eligible until age 18 or longer if disabled and incapable of self-support, or until age 25 if full-time student. Benefit adjusted to reflect cost of living increases. Medical costs directly related to the injury are paid. Combined total of government benefits and Workers' Compensation cannot exceed 100% of employee's weekly wage.

Special Note: For volunteer firefighters and rescue workers, workers' compensation liability is the responsibility of the entity for which the emergency services are provided while the employee is responding to the call. Compensation is based on the usual wage for similar services performed by paid employees.

Contact:
Workers' Compensation Division
State Department of Labor and Industry
443 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: (651) 284-5005
Toll Free: (800) 342-5354
Website: www.dli.mn.gov/main.asp

(Reference: Minnesota Statutes 176.111 Section d)
 
 

Funeral:

Maximum burial allowance of $15,000.

Contact:
Workers' Compensation Division
State Department of Labor and Industry
443 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: (651) 284-5005
Toll Free: (800) 342-5354
Website: www.dli.mn.gov/main.asp

(Reference: Minnesota Statutes 176.111 Section 18)

 

Pension:
 
For firefighters covered under Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) of Minnesota, Police and Fire Plan: If a member dies in the line of duty, spouse is eligible for a Lifetime Survivor Benefit based on either 50% of average salary during six months of public service immediately prior to death or on a formula using several factors. Spouse will always receive the higher of the two options. Spousal benefits continue for life, even upon remarriage. If member is under age 50, dependents are only eligible for the Lifetime Survivor Benefit, not other formula. Dependent children eligible for benefits equal to 10% of the employee's salary during the last six months of public service. Dependent children eligible for benefits until age 18 or, if a full-time student, until age 23. Maximum family benefit is 70% of average monthly salary during last six months of service; minimum family benefit is 50% of this salary.


Disability: PERA Members injured in the line of duty may receive benefits equal to 60% of average salary over the five highest-paid years of service, presuming 20 years of service. There is no minimum service time required to qualify and condition must be expected to last more than one year. Firefighters who are totally and permanently disabled as a result of a line-of-duty injury receive the duty disability and continued health insurance benefits for life.

Contact:
Public Employees Retirement Association
60 Empire Street, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55103-2088
Phone: (651) 296-7460
Toll Free: (800) 652-9026
Website: www.mnpera.org

 

Child's Education:
 
Provides tuition and fees for undergraduate or certificate programs at state-supported colleges and universities. If student attends approved Minnesota private college or university, state will pay no more than the highest tuition and fees charged by a Minnesota public institution. Eligible until age 23. Renewable for a maximum of eight semesters or 12 quarters, whichever occurs first. Annual full-time tuition and fee maximums are $10,488 for students in a four-year degree program and $5,808 for students in a 2 year-degree program (2010).

Eligibility limited to children of firefighters killed in the line of duty which does not include death from natural causes. Eligibility determined by Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Applicants must present a "Public Safety Officer's Benefit Fund Certificate" issued by the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety to qualify for tuition benefits.

Contact:
Public Safety Officer's Survivor Grant Program
Minnesota Department of Public Safety
c/o - Nancy Reissner
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100, NCL Tower
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (651) 201-7165
Website: www.getreadyforcollege.org/gPg.cfm?pageID=145
Email: nancy.reissner@state.mn.us

(Reference: Minnesota Statutes 136A.121)

 

Spouse's Education:
 
Same as for children, except no age limit. Eligibility limited to spouses of firefighters killed in the line of duty which does not include death from natural causes.

Contact:
Public Safety Officer's Survivor Grant Program
Minnesota Department of Public Safety
c/o - Nancy Reissner
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100, NCL Tower
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (651) 201-7165
Website: www.getreadyforcollege.org/gPg.cfm?pageID=145
Email: nancy.reissner@state.mn.us

(Reference: Minnesota Statutes 136A.121)
 
 

Support Organizations:

Minnesota Fallen Firefighters Memorial Association

The Minnesota Fallen Firefighters Memorial Association (MFFMA) is a non-profit organization formed in June 2001. While the organization is new, the members are not new to honor and color guards. The members that started the team have many years of experience on honor guards and are members of existing teams.
 

Minnesota 100 Club
PO Box 18784
Minneapolis, MN 55418
Phone: (651) 408-0242
Website: www.minnesota100club.com
Email: MN100Club@aol.com

Provides immediate contribution of $3,500.


 

Healthcare

There is no state benefit. However, many fire departments offer annual physicals and Hepatitis B vaccinations.

Legal By state statute, the city or township must provide legal counsel for any firefighter if an action is brought against the firefighter for damages caused by the operation of a motor vehicle in the course of the firefighter's official duties. The municipality must also pay the expense of defending the suit, including providing witness and reasonable counsel fees.

Malpractice Firefighters who render emergency service without compensation or the expectation of compensation are not liable for any civil damages as a result of acts or omissions, unless the firefighter acted in a willful and wanton or reckless manner.

Retirement Each department has the right to establish a Firefighter Relief Association. The program is funded by 2% fire insurance premium tax. Programs differ for each fire department.

Tax The state reimburses volunteer firefighter relief associations up to $1,000 in exchange for paying state taxes on their lump sum pensions. The amount of the benefit is 10% of the lump sum distribution up to a maximum of $1,000.

Contact: Minnesota Department of Revenue. 600 North Robert St., St. Paul, MN 55146.

Additional Volunteer firefighters are eligible for special license plates. The fee is $10.