Chapter 146: VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTERS' DEPENDENTS FUND

146.01 Volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund definitions.

As used in sections 146.01 to 146.19 of the Revised Code:

(A) "Fire department" means a volunteer fire department, a fire department of a political subdivision or fire district of this state, or a private volunteer company that has elected to participate in the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund pursuant to section 146.02 of the Revised Code.

(B)

(1) "Volunteer firefighter" means both of the following, subject to division (B)(2) of this section:

(a) A duly appointed member of a fire department on either a nonpay or part-pay basis who is ineligible to be a member of the Ohio police and fire pension fund, or whose employment as a firefighter does not in itself qualify any such person for membership in the public employees retirement system, or who has waived membership in the public employees retirement system;

(b) Firefighters drafted, requisitioned, or appointed to serve in an emergency.

(2)

(a) A volunteer firefighter who is a member of the public employees retirement system shall be considered a volunteer firefighter for purposes of this chapter, and in particular, for purposes of divisions (A) and (B) of section 146.12 of the Revised Code until the firefighter has at least one and one-half years of Ohio service credit for purposes of division (B) of section 145.45 of the Revised Code;

(b) A volunteer firefighter who is a member of the public employees retirement system shall be considered a volunteer firefighter for purposes of this chapter and, in particular, for purposes of division (C) of section 146.12 of the Revised Code until the firefighter has at least five years of total service credit for purposes of sections 145.35 and 145.36 or section 145.361 of the Revised Code.

(C) "Private volunteer fire company" means a company of trained volunteer firefighters having a contract to furnish fire protection or emergency service or both to a political subdivision or fire district of this state.

(D) "Member of the fund" includes a political subdivision or fire district of this state that maintains in whole or in part a volunteer fire department or employs volunteer firefighters, and a private volunteer fire company that has elected to participate in the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund.

(E) "Volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund" means the fund established by section 146.07 of the Revised Code.

(F) "Totally and permanently disabled" means that a volunteer firefighter is unable to engage in any substantial gainful employment for a period of not less than twelve months by reason of a medically determinable physical impairment that is permanent or presumed to be permanent.

Cite as R.C. § 146.01

Effective Date: 03-19-2003

146.02 Volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board.

(A) Each political subdivision or fire district having a fire department employing volunteer fire fighters is a member of the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund and shall establish a volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board.

(B) A private volunteer fire company which has contracted to afford fire protection to a political subdivision or fire district may become a member of the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund by election and shall, if it so elects, establish a volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board. The company shall notify the state fire marshal and the governing body of the political subdivision or fire district with which it has its major contract of the election to become a member of the fund.

Cite as R.C. § 146.02

Effective Date: 07-01-1985

146.03 Members - vacancies.

(A) A volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board provided for in division (A) of section 146.02 of the Revised Code shall consist of five members chosen as follows:

(1) Two members elected by the legislative authority of the political subdivision or fire district;

(2) Two members elected by the fire department or the volunteer fire fighters;

(3) One member elected by the board members who were elected pursuant to divisions (A)(1) and (2) of this section. This member shall be an elector of the political subdivision or fire district, but not a public employee, a member of the legislative authority, or a member of the fire department.

(B) A volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board provided for in division (B) of section 146.02 of the Revised Code shall consist of five members chosen as follows:

(1) Two members elected by the legislative authority of the political subdivision or fire district with which the private volunteer fire company has its major contract;

(2) Two members elected by the private volunteer fire company;

(3) One member elected by the board members who were elected pursuant to divisions (B)(1) and (2) of this section. This member shall be an elector of a political subdivision or fire district with which the private volunteer fire company has contracted to afford fire protection, but not a public employee, a member of the legislative authority, or a member of the fire company.

(C) Any vacancy occurring on a volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board shall be filled at a special election called by the secretary of the board.

Cite as R.C. § 146.03

Effective Date: 07-01-1985

146.04 Board election and term.

(A) The term of each volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board member is one year and begins the first day of January.

(B) Election of volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board members provided for in divisions (A)(1) and (B)(1) of section 146.03 of the Revised Code shall be held each year no earlier than the first day of November and no later than the second Monday in December, and the election of the board members provided for in divisions (A)(3) and (B)(3) of section 146.03 of the Revised Code shall be held each year on or before the thirty-first day of December.

(C) The board members provided for in divisions (A)(2) and (B)(2) of section 146.03 of the Revised Code shall be elected on or before the second Monday in December, as follows:

(1) The secretary of the board shall give notice of the election by posting it in a conspicuous place at the headquarters of the fire department or fire company and at the house of each company composing the fire department. Between nine a.m. and nine p.m. on the day designated, each member of the department or company shall send in writing the name of two persons, members of the department or company, who are the member's choices.

(2) All votes cast at the election shall be counted and recorded by the board which shall announce the result. The two members receiving the highest number of votes are elected. If any two persons receive a tie vote, it shall be decided by lot or in any other way agreed upon by the persons for whom such tie vote was cast.

Cite as R.C. § 146.04

Effective Date: 09-25-1981

146.05 Organization of board.

A volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board shall meet promptly after its election and organize. A chairperson and a secretary shall be elected. The secretary shall keep a complete record of the proceedings of the board, which record shall be maintained as a permanent file.

The board may adopt rules necessary for the handling and processing of claims and shall perform such other duties as are necessary to carry out sections 146.01 to 146.19 of the Revised Code.

The secretary of the board shall immediately certify to the state fire marshal the names and addresses of the members elected, by whom elected, and the names of the board chairperson and secretary. The secretary shall also forward a certificate prepared by the clerk of the political subdivision or fire district of the current assessed valuation of such political subdivision or fire district if the political subdivision or fire district is a member of the fund.

A private volunteer fire company which is a member of the fund shall provide the secretary of the board with a roster of the fire company members, and shall report any changes to the secretary when they occur. Only persons whose names appear on the list, and in no event more than an average number of fifty names per station operated by the volunteer fire company, are eligible for benefits under sections 146.01 to 146.19 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 146.05

Effective Date: 07-01-1985

146.06 Compensation - expenses - legal advisor.

The members of the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund boards shall serve without compensation. The political subdivision or fire district within which the boards operate shall provide the necessary meeting place, stationery, postage, and supplies for the efficient conduct of their business.

The legal advisor for a volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board is the prosecuting attorney of the county in which such board is located.

Cite as R.C. § 146.06

Effective Date: 10-25-1978

146.07 Volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund.

(A) There is hereby established in the state treasury the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund. All investment earnings earned by the fund shall be collected by the treasurer of state and placed to the credit of the fund. Each political subdivision or fire district which maintains in whole or in part a volunteer fire department or employs volunteer fire fighters shall pay to the treasurer of state, to the credit of the fund, an initial premium as follows:

(1) Having an assessed property valuation of less than seven million dollars, a premium of three hundred dollars;

(2) Having an assessed property valuation of seven million dollars but less than fourteen million dollars, a premium of three hundred fifty dollars;

(3) Having an assessed property valuation of fourteen million dollars but less than twenty-one million dollars, a premium of four hundred dollars;

(4) Having an assessed property valuation of twenty-one million dollars but less than twenty-eight million dollars, a premium of four hundred fifty dollars;

(5) Having an assessed property valuation of twenty-eight million dollars or over, a premium of five hundred dollars.

(B) Each private volunteer fire company which is under contract to afford fire protection to a political subdivision or fire district and which has elected to become a member of the fund is a member of the fund upon the payment of an initial premium of five hundred dollars within one month of such election, to the treasurer of state, to the credit of the fund.

Cite as R.C. § 146.07

Effective Date: 07-01-1985

146.08 Failure to pay premium.

If the premium is not paid as provided in division (A) of section 146.07 of the Revised Code, the state fire marshal shall certify such failure as an assessment against the member of the fund to the auditor of the county within which the member is located. The county auditor shall then withhold the amount of such assessment, together with interest at the rate of six per cent from the due date of the premium, from the next ensuing tax settlement due the members and pay the amount to the treasurer of state to the credit of the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund. In the event the secretary of the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board fails to forward a certificate of statement of the current assessed property valuation as provided in section 146.05 of the Revised Code, the state fire marshal shall use division (A)(5) of section 146.07 of the Revised Code as a basis for such assessment.

Cite as R.C. § 146.08

Effective Date: 07-01-1985

146.09 Certification of assessment.

The total of all initial premiums collected by the treasurer of state under section 146.07 of the Revised Code is the basic capital account of the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund, and no further contributions are required of its members until such time as claims against the fund have reduced it to ninety-five per cent or less of its basic capital account. In such event, the state fire marshal shall cause the following assessments, based on current valuation, to be made and certified to the legislative body of each member of the fund having a volunteer fire department or employing volunteer fire fighters:

(A) For a member with an assessed property valuation of less than seven million dollars, ninety dollars;

(B) For a member with an assessed property valuation of seven million dollars but less than fourteen million dollars, one hundred five dollars;

(C) For a member with an assessed property valuation of fourteen million dollars but less than twenty-one million dollars, one hundred twenty dollars;

(D) For a member with an assessed property valuation of twenty-one million dollars but less than twenty-eight million dollars, one hundred thirty-five dollars;

(E) For a member with an assessed property valuation of twenty-eight million dollars or more, one hundred fifty dollars.

Every private volunteer fire company which is a member of the fund shall be assessed one hundred fifty dollars.

Cite as R.C. § 146.09

Effective Date: 03-17-1989

146.10 Collecting assessment.

(A) If a member of the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund having a volunteer fire department or employing volunteer fire fighters does not pay the assessment provided in section 146.09 of the Revised Code within forty-five days after notice, the state fire marshal shall proceed with collection in the same manner as provided in section 146.08 of the Revised Code.

(B) If a private volunteer fire company which is a member of the fund does not pay the assessment provided in section 146.09 of the Revised Code within forty-five days after notice, such company shall be suspended as a member of the fund and shall be ineligible to file any new claim occurring during the period of suspension.

Cite as R.C. § 146.10

Effective Date: 07-01-1985

146.11 [Repealed].

Cite as R.C. § 146.11

Effective Date: 07-01-1985

146.12 Benefits.

Benefits shall be paid from the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund to or on behalf of the following persons:

(A) To the surviving spouse of a volunteer firefighter killed while discharging the duties of a volunteer firefighter or who dies from exposure or injury received while in the discharge of those duties, a lump sum award of one thousand dollars, and, in addition, the sum of three hundred dollars per month;

(B) To the parent, guardian, or other persons upon whom a child of a volunteer firefighter is dependent for chief support, the sum of one hundred twenty-five dollars per month for each dependent child under eighteen years of age, or under twenty-three years of age if the child is attending a post-secondary educational institution and is completing a program of instruction each school year that satisfies the equivalent of at least two-thirds of the full-time curriculum requirements of the institution.

(C) To a volunteer firefighter, totally and permanently disabled while discharging the duties of a volunteer firefighter, the sum of three hundred dollars per month. No payment shall be made to a volunteer firefighter under full salary during the time of the volunteer firefighter's disability.

Cite as R.C. § 146.12

Effective Date: 03-19-2003

146.13 Benefits not liable to attachment.

The benefits provided for in section 146.12 of the Revised Code are in addition to all other benefits otherwise provided for by law, and are not liable to attachment, levy, or seizure under any legal or equitable process, whether such sums remain with the treasurer of state or are in the course of transmission to the person entitled thereto, but shall inure wholly to the benefit of the beneficiary.

Cite as R.C. § 146.13

Effective Date: 01-10-1961

146.14 Claims for benefits.

Claims for benefits payable under section 146.12 of the Revised Code shall be made as follows:

(A) A surviving spouse shall file a claim under oath with the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board on a form provided by the board, setting forth the full name of the deceased volunteer fire fighter, the name of the fire department or company of which the decedent was a member, the name and address of the surviving spouse, and the names, ages, and addresses of dependent children. The surviving spouse shall supply such documentary evidence as the board may reasonably require.

(B) A parent, guardian, or other person in charge of a dependent child shall file a claim under oath with the board on a form provided by the board, setting forth the full name of the deceased volunteer fire fighter, the name of the fire department or company of which the fire fighter was a member, and the name, age, and address of such dependent child. The surviving spouse shall supply such documentary evidence as the board may reasonably require.

(C) A totally and permanently disabled volunteer fire fighter shall file a claim under oath setting forth the name of the fire department or company of which the fire fighter was a member, the date of the injury, and satisfactory medical proof that the fire fighter is totally and permanently disabled.

(D) All claims filed under divisions (A), (B), and (C) of this section shall certify that neither the claimant nor the person on whose behalf the claim is filed qualifies for benefits under sections 145.35 and 145.36 or section 145.361 , or division (B) of section 145.45 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 146.14

Effective Date: 07-29-1992

146.15 Filing initial claims.

Initial claims under section 146.14 of the Revised Code shall be filed with the volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board located in the political subdivision or fire district in which the volunteer fire fighter was a member of a fire department or company. Thereafter, claims may be transferred at the request of the claimant or the board to a board near the current residence of the claimant, provided that the transfer is mutually agreed upon by the boards concerned.

Cite as R.C. § 146.15

Effective Date: 10-25-1978

146.16 Certifying claims for payment.

A volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board shall meet within five days after the receipt of a claim to consider the claim and, if satisfied with the validity of the claim, shall make a determination of the amount due and to become due and shall certify its determination to the state fire marshal for payment. The certificate shall show the name and address of the board, the name and address of each beneficiary, the amount to be received by or on behalf of each beneficiary, and the name and address of the person to whom the payments shall be made. The board may make a continuing order for monthly payments to become due to a claimant for a period not exceeding three months from the date of the determination. The determination may be modified after issuance to reflect any changes in eligibility of the claimant. If no changes occur at the end of the three-month period, it is sufficient authority for the state fire marshal to provide for payment if the board certifies to him that the original certificate is continued for an additional three-month period.

Cite as R.C. § 146.16

Effective Date: 03-13-1986

146.17 Denying claims.

If a volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board, after consideration of a claim, finds that the claimant has no right to benefits or that the claim is without merit, it shall deny the claim and issue notice of such action by delivering to the claimant a copy of the order, or by leaving a copy at the claimant's place of residence, or by mailing to the claimant a copy thereof by registered mail.

Cite as R.C. § 146.17

Effective Date: 10-25-1978

146.18 Assuming obligations of fire fighters' indemnity boards.

The volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund boards established under sections 146.01 to 146.19 of the Revised Code, shall assume all obligations, claims, and outstanding liabilities of all fire fighters' indemnity boards existing on November 1, 1957 and all benefits due claimants after that date shall be paid in accordance with sections 146.01 to 146.19 of the Revised Code. All fire fighters' indemnity boards are hereby disbanded, and their funds transferred to the general fund of the political subdivision or fire district.

Cite as R.C. § 146.18

Effective Date: 10-25-1978

146.19 List of fire departments.

The state fire marshal shall supply the public employees retirement board with a complete list of fire departments in the state which are supported wholly or in part at public expense, together with their addresses, and shall currently report additions to or deletions from such list.

Cite as R.C. § 146.19

Effective Date: 07-01-1985