There are states that don't have disability benefits for their volunteer firefighters or volunteer ambulance workers. Volunteers that are seriously injured while on an authorized emergency response and cannot return to work because of these injuries must face a life of poverty. Is this fair to them or their families? Workers' Compensation laws vary quite a bit from state to state. Some offer volunteers the same disability coverage as a career firefighter in a neighboring community. Other states offer no disability benefits at all for volunteers injured in the line of duty because it's considered to be a no-loss job. Since volunteers aren't paid, they haven't lost any wages. In some states, workers' compensation is optional; fire departments aren't required to buy into workers' compensation. Even if workers' compensation covers volunteers, some states have limits on that coverage; some cover volunteers only for official duties on the scene of an emergency, but may not cover firefighters injured in training or fund raising events. Some states include yearly cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), some don't. Some pay benefits in a lump sum.<br /> Volunteer firefighters save taxpayers all across the United States 36.8 billion dollars each year in taxes. Without them, we would have to rely on paid firefighters from the cities to answer these calls for help in the rural comunities. People in the United States have come to believe it is their right to receive automatic help from the volunteer fire department or Emergency Medical Service from the volunteer ambulance squad just down the street. They often don't realize what would happen to one of these volunteers if they became seriously and permanently injured while responding to their calls for help.<br /> There needs to be federal legislation that would make it manditory for each state to provide fair and updated disability benefits for their volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers. These dedicated people protect lives and property in every community all across the United States. Volunteers all deserve to be protected equally. Why should the degree of disability benefits vary by state? Volunteer firefighters deserve much more recognition and praise then they receive from the communities they protect. At the vary least, legislation should be put in place that will protect them in the not-particularly-unlikely event that they become seriously and permanently injured. There's something drastically wrong with the current volunteer firefighter disability benefit system in this country. If Congress can step in and set standards for each state to have safe amusement park rides, then why can't Congress set standards for each state to have fair, equal (from state to state), and updated disability benefits for their disabled volunteer firefighters?<br /> This is an issue that the National Volunteer Fire Council as well as the International Association of Fire Chiefs need to be actively involved in. The law needs to be rewritten so every volunteer is protected when they answer the call for "Help", in their community, no matter where they live in the United States.
Mike Nicholson<br />email@example.com<b r />Victor Fire Dept.<br />Maple Ave<br />Victor, NY 14564
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12-21-2001, 08:05 PM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
Volunteer firefighter disability benefits!
12-23-2001, 05:11 PM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
- LANHAM MD
thank you for infroum, I thought all state is cover by worker comp. read after your commet I"m fineing diffent. I'm one who in a state that cover me. maybe you can apply for SS. maybe congress don't know it too.you can try e-mail them. about you.let me know what happing.e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org<br /> good luck dennis
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