Date: November 3, 2006
Chapter 212 of the Laws of 2005 and Chapter 246 of the Laws of 2006 amended the Volunteer Firefighters' and Volunteer Ambulance Workers' Benefit Laws to provide a cost of living benefit adjustment for the surviving spouse, children and other eligible dependents of volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers who died in the line of duty. The increased benefits were effective as of January 1, 2006 and apply to all weekly benefit periods that began after that date. Please note that these cost of living increases apply to all VFBL and VAWBL death claims currently being paid, regardless of the date of death or original benefit rate. Charts showing the new rates, including remarriage awards, for all dates of death from the inception of each Law to the present are available on the Workers' Compensation Board's web site, www.wcb.ny.gov, under the heading Common Forms. These charts are:
Form VF-501, Volunteer Firefighters Benefit Rates – Death Benefits>
Form VAW-501, Volunteer Ambulance Workers Benefit Rates – Death Benefits
Sections 51 of the VFBL and VAWBL provide that the insurance carrier or entity responsible for paying these benefit increases may claim reimbursement from the Special Fund for Reopened cases commencing one year from the date of the first such payment and annually thereafter while such payments continue, on a form prescribed by the Chair. The form prescribed for this purpose is Form VF/VAW-10 , which is also available on the Board's web site.
If you have any questions or need further information about the rate changes contact the Office of General Counsel at 518-486-9564. For information about the reimbursement process contact the Board's Finance Office at 518-486-3354
Thank you for your cooperation.