;
PREPARING FOR WILDFIRES
  • FIRE DEPARTMENT PROGRAMS: DEATH AND DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR FIREFIGHTERS

    Texas A&M Forest Service has identified assistance available to firefighters disabled or killed in the line of duty. Though there may be other programs, the benefits identified by TFS could help supplement a firefighter's life and disability income insurance policies.

    If your department has just sustained a line-of-duty firefighter death please call the State Fire Marshal's Office immediately at 512-305-7900 (24-hour number). An investigation and assistance team will be sent to your location. For more information please visit the Texas Department of Insurance.

    Other programs that may supplement life and disability income insurance policies are:

        


     + Workers' Compensation Insurance
    Workers' Compensation Insurance will provide aid in some instances, but not all firefighters have this coverage. To obtain information about possible Workers' Compensation coverage, contact Customer Service, Texas Workers' Compensation Commission, 7551 Metro Center Drive, Austin, TX 78744, phone: 512-804-4100
     + The Employees Retirement System of Texas
    The Employees Retirement System of Texas administers the state death benefit program under Chapter 615 that covers Texas firefighters. The state program provides a $250,000 death benefit for qualified firefighters, payable to the surviving spouse. The program also provides a monthly benefit for the firefighter's children. The monthly benefit totals $200 for one child, $300 for two children and $400 for three or more children. Contact the Employees Retirement System of Texas, P.O. Box 13207, Austin, TX 78711-3207 or 512-867-7711 for details on how to file for these benefits.
     + The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
    The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board administers Section 54.204 of the Texas Education Code, which provides exemption from payment of certain fees and tuition at public colleges and universities in Texas. Children of Texas firefighters, peace officers, custodial employees of TDC or game wardens who are disabled or killed in the line of duty qualify for the assistance provided they meet certain criteria. The governing board of each institution of higher education shall exempt from the payment from all dues, fees and charges any eligible person whose parent meets the specified eligibility criteria. This exemption does not apply to general property deposits or to fees or charges for lodging, board or clothing. To obtain details on student eligibility under this section of the Texas Education Code, contact the Division of Student Services, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, P.O. Box 12788, Austin, TX 78711 or 512-427-6345.
     + The Fleetwood Memorial Foundation
    The Fleetwood Memorial Foundation serves as another possible source of financial assistance to certified Texas peace officers and fire protection personnel who incur an injury or death in the line of duty. Members of the foundation's executive committee evaluate aid requests based on need and circumstances, and usually make funding aid decisions within a matter of hours. According to a foundation spokesman, the foundation's purpose is to provide virtually instant no-strings-attached grants of up to $10,000 to help meet unexpected expenses until insurance or more permanent sources of funds can be arranged. Any Texas law enforcement or fire protection agency can apply for Fleetwood grants on behalf of qualified personnel injured or killed in the performance of their duty. For more information, contact the Fleetwood Memorial Foundation, 501 South Fiedler Road, Arlington, TX 76013 or 817-261-8954.
     + The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
    The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has established scholarships for spouses and children of firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Beginning in 1997, the Foundation offers a minimum of four scholarships annually to defray the cost of education and job skills for eligible family members. For information on these "Senator Paul Sarbanes Scholarships," contact the Foundation, PO Drawer 498, Emmitsburg, MD 21727 or phone 301-447-1365.
     + The Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program
    The Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program 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 and proximate result of a traumatic injury sustained in the line of duty. As of October 1, 2004, the benefit amount is $275,658. Since October 15, 1988, the benefit has been adjusted each year on October 1 to reflect the percentage of change in the Consumer Price Index. For each death and disability claim, the award almost is solely determined by the actual date of the officer's death or disability. For more information on this program, call 888-744-6513.

     + Firefighter Ministries, Inc.
    Firefighter Ministries, Inc.is a social/human service organization, designed to meet the special needs of emergency service workers. Emergency workers can seek advice and help when they find it hard to cope with the specific issues at a time of crisis; in response to an injury, illness or a death; or in dealing with a mental health or spiritual issue. Contact Wendy Norris, PO Box 925, Friendswood, TX 77549 or 281-996-8149.
  • RELATED INFORMATION