Yarnell Hill Firefighter Benefits

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Yarnell Hill Firefighter Benefits
Thu, 08-08-2013 - 9:19am

Families of some of the 19 members of the elite Hotshot crew killed fighting an Arizona wildfire in June claim they're missing out on millions of dollars in benefits they think they deserve.

Under the U.S. Justice Department's Public Safety Officers' Benefits Programs for law enforcement and fire officers injured or killed in the line of duty, each family is eligible for a lump sum payment set by law — which is $328,612.73 this year. Charitable contributions and union programs will add tens of thousands more to that total.

But 13 of the 19 firefighters were classified as seasonal or part-time employees of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, based in Prescott. That means their families aren't eligible for lifetime monthly survivor benefits, life insurance and health insurance that the families of the six full-time firefighters will get — benefits that could run into several hundred thousand dollars for each of them.


Sad story all around.  Do you feel as if the families of the seasonal employees should be eligible for the same  surviror benefits that the families of the full time employees will be receiving?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2012
Thu, 08-08-2013 - 1:36pm

It breaks my heart that these families are having to fight for something like this so shortly after losing their loved ones.  I think they should receive the benefits.  Their family members gave up their lives while protecting others.  It just seems sick not to give them the families these benefits. It obviously won't bring their loved ones back, but it may help take away a little bit of stress at such a horrific time. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Thu, 08-08-2013 - 1:47pm

If it is a benefit specifically for those who commit themselves full time, then the part timers, unfortunately, shouldn't be eligible.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 5:31am

I think there's room for some compensation.  Were they independent contractors or employees of the company themselves? I think this employer does have an obligation here, maybe not full survivorship benefits like for the f/t employees but something.



iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2013
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 3:19pm

I know that this may sound horrible at first but no. I do not think that seasonal employees should get the same benefits as full-time employees. I'm sorry those firefighters lost their lives and I feel bad for their families, but I'm sure benefits were explained to them when the made the choice to sign on.