Yarnell Hill Firefighter Benefits
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?