Print Print
  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE IV CIVIL SERVICE, RETIREMENTS AND PENSIONS
  • CHAPTER 32 RETIREMENT SYSTEMS AND PENSIONS
  • Section 89E Accidental death benefits for volunteer emergency service providers

Section 89E. (a) Notwithstanding section 27C of chapter 29 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, any city, town, or district that utilizes volunteer emergency service providers shall provide 1 of the following 3 accidental death benefits for the surviving spouse of a volunteer emergency service provider. If any call, volunteer, auxiliary, intermittent, or reserve firefighter, or a call, volunteer, auxiliary, intermittent, or reserve emergency medical services provider who is a member of a police or fire department and who is not subject to chapter 152, while in the performance of his duties and as a result of an accident while responding to or returning from an alarm of fire or any emergency, or as the result of an accident involving a fire department vehicle, which the firefighter or emergency medical service provider is operating or in which he is riding, or while at the scene of a fire or any emergency is killed or sustains injuries which results in his death; or an auxiliary, intermittent, special, part-time, or reserve police officer who, while in the performance of his duties, and as a result of an assault on his person, or as a result of an accident involving a police department vehicle which he is operating or in which he is riding in the performance of his duties as a police officer is killed or sustains injuries which result in his death, his surviving spouse shall be eligible for 1 of the following accidental death benefits as selected by the city, town, or district.

(1) The city, town, or district shall pay to the surviving spouse an accidental death benefit in the form of an annuity equal to at least 2/3 of but not more than 100 per cent of the annual rate of regular compensation payable to a regular or permanent member of the police or fire department in the first year of service or, if the police or fire department does not have any regular or permanent members, an annuity equal to at least 2/3 of but not more than 100 per cent of the annual average compensation payable to a regular or permanent firefighter, emergency medical services provider or police officer in the local area; this average to be determined by a survey of 3 surrounding cities, towns or districts, as determined by the public employee retirement administration commission. The annuity shall be increased annually by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the cost of living determination made by the general court for that year under section 102.

(2) The city, town or district shall establish an insurance policy that provides a one-time accidental death benefit of $500,000, indexed for inflation.

(3) The city, town or district shall establish an insurance policy that provides an annuity payment of not less than 2/3 of but not more than 100 per cent of the annual rate of regular compensation payable to a regular or permanent member of the police or fire department in the first year of service or, if the police or fire department does not have any regular or permanent members, the accidental death benefit to the surviving spouse shall be based on the annual average compensation payable to a regular or permanent firefighter, emergency medical services provider or police officer in the local area; such average to be determined by a survey of 3 surrounding cities, towns or districts, as determined by the public employee retirement administration commission.

(b) If there is no surviving spouse or if the surviving spouse later dies, the benefit that would have been payable under this section to the surviving spouse will be payable to the surviving minor children until they reach the age of majority and to any adult children of the deceased volunteer emergency services provider who are physically or mentally incapacitated from earning. These payments will be on a per capita basis among any minor or incapacitated children. The benefits payable under this section are subject to judgments or orders for child support of any court of competent jurisdiction.

(c) The surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, the legal representative of any minor or disabled children shall elect the benefits provided under this section or any accidental death benefits provided by this chapter, except section 100A, to which he may be entitled. This election shall be made in writing and shall not be subject to change or revocation after the first payment of any benefit under this section.

(d) As used in this section, volunteer emergency services provider shall mean a call, volunteer, auxiliary, intermittent or reserve firefighter, or a call, volunteer, auxiliary, intermittent or reserve emergency medical services provider who is a member of a police or fire department and who is not subject to chapter 152, or an auxiliary, intermittent, special, part-time or reserve police officer.

(e) Nothing in this section shall preclude a city, town or district from entering into an agreement with 1 or more governmental units for the purpose of pooling resources to pay for accidental death benefits for the surviving spouse of a volunteer emergency services provider who sustains injuries or illnesses, while in the performance of his duties, which are the direct and proximate cause of his death.