Fire and emergency service organizations throughout Texas have relied on VFIS’s Accident and Sickness program to cover emergency services related accidents and illnesses including heart attacks. However, many heart and circulatory related claims (including Cancer) may not be covered by Workers’ Compensation or Accident & Sickness policies.
Now, with the VFIS Critical Illness Insurance Program, Texas' emergency service personnel can receive a lump sum cash benefit when diagnosed with a heart attack, stroke or life threatening cancer. Learn More: http://www.vfistx.com/critical-illness.html
The International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation (IAFC Foundation) is accepting applications for its educational scholarships from qualified first responders.The deadline is June 1, 2014.
Scholarships provided by the IAFC Foundation help improve the fire service by assisting first responders advance their college level educations so they are better prepared to face the ever-increasing and complex challenges of today’s fire service.
Available 2014 scholarships include:
Any person who is an active member with a minimum of three (3) years as a volunteer, two (2) years paid, or a combination of paid and volunteer of three (3) years with a state, county, provincial, municipal, community, industrial, or federal fire department is eligible to apply.
The scholarship application form can be found here.
For additional information please email Sharon Baroncelli or call 703.896.4822.
The start of the Volunteer Retention Study sponsored by the Texas Emergency Services Retirement System in partnership with VFIS of Texas and SFFMA has been postponed. According to Michelle Jordan, Executive Director for TESRS, the start date for data collection has been postponed because not enough departments have signed up for a statistically valid sample. Currently, 47 departments have agreed to participate, which is short of the goal by about 120 departments. We’re hoping that a strong push in February will enable a March 1 start date.
In addition to a late start, the monthly reporting has been eliminated. The data to be collected has been revised to include current roster numbers and demographics, as well as year-end numbers from the previous five years, and retention strategy information. By eliminating the monthly reporting, the time and effort required to participate has been greatly reduced.
Any volunteer fire department in the state can participate, as well as combination departments (only information on the volunteer side will be reported). This study will predict statewide and regional declines over the past five years, as well as provide demographic information that may be helpful. In addition, retention strategy information will be collected and shared.
This is an important study to determine whether or not pension programs and other incentives help to retain volunteers in Texas. If you have any questions or would like to participate in this study, please contact TESRS at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Thank you for your interest!
NATIONAL FIRE SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS ADDRESS VOLUNTEER FIRE SERVICE CONCERNS WITH THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI), the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), are currently working with members of Congress and the Administration to address the potential impact that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) could have on volunteer fire departments throughout the nation.
According to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148), employers with more than 50 full-time employees (or their equivalents (FTE)) must provide health insurance to employees that work more than 30 hours per week. Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that volunteer firefighters that receive nominal benefits from their fire departments (including stipends, end-of-the-year banquets and awards) count as "employees" of fire departments. An unintended consequence of this IRS ruling is that fire departments may have to provide health insurance to volunteers that serve more than 30 hours per week at their local fire department.
The effect of this provision could cause serious financial hardship to fire departments. Many volunteer fire departments rely upon local donations and fundraisers to fund their basic operations. The addition of a requirement to provide health insurance would present a serious financial challenge to them.
Although the final regulations have not been codified, the aforementioned organizations are working with a bipartisan group of members of Congress to address this potential consequence of the PPACA.
The NVFC, IAFC, and several members of Congress have sent letters to the IRS asking Acting-Commissioner Werfel to release regulations or guidance stating volunteers who receive nominal compensation will not be considered employees under PPACA. On December 10, 2013, Senator Mark Warner (VA) and Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) introduced the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act (H.R. 3685 and S. 1798). The legislation ensures that volunteers are not counted as full-time employees under the shared responsibility requirements contained in PPACA.
CFSI, NVFC and IAFC will continue to provide updates to the fire service as these efforts are being addressed on Capitol Hill and within the Administration. Please visit our website sites (www.cfsi.org, www.nvfc.org, www.iafc.org) for the latest information.
Bill Webb (CFSI)
Dave Finger (NVFC)
(202) 887-5700 ext. 112
If you are a young volunteer and have joined an Emergency Service Organization (ESO) that offers a Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP), it is likely that you have been asked to complete paperwork to put a life insurance policy in place on your behalf. If so, you may have been putting it off because you have a thousand other things to do.
It is important to remember that your ESO’s LOSAP was custom-designed to meet the unique needs of your organization. Very basically, the LOSAP provides active volunteers with benefits in the event of death, disability and retirement. To a young person, retirement seems a lifetime away. However, since most LOSAP plans provide a death benefit, there is immediate financial protection available for you and your loved ones.
Sudden tragedies know no age limitations. In the event of your untimely death, a death benefit offered by the LOSAP provides significant financial relief to your family no matter what the cause of death.* You do not have to die in the line of duty to qualify for a death benefit provided by the LOSAP. You are never too young to look out for your friends and family. Take the time to become an active participant in your LOSAP by completing a life insurance application today and remember to keep your beneficiary designation current! What you do now will affect your loved ones later.
For more information on Length of Service Awards Program and to contact us, CLICK HERE.
*Certain policy exclusions may apply
MORE INFO: VFIS Benefits News (FALL 2013)
Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA)—one of the most significant reforms to the U.S. health care system in over a generation in 2010. Since its passage, the federal government and others have been analyzing the act and determining how to implement this legislation. As a result, we’re only just beginning to understand how the act will impact the fire and emergency service.
The legislation is extensive, with many moving pieces, and the public opinion of the bill is highly polarized. Therefore, it’s critical that fire department leaders fully understand the facts and avoid sharing misinformation. Learn more by downloading this Fact Sheet from the International Association of Fire Chiefs: http://www.iafc.org/files/1GR/gr_PPACAfactSheet.pdf
Also, be sure to tell the IRS to exempt Volunteer Firefighters and EMS personnel from the Affordable Care Act's Shared Responsibility Provision. Simply download the IAFC's Draft Letter (http://bit.ly/1fFMf2V), input your department's information, and submit it to the IRS here (http://1.usa.gov/19UjgpC). Act quickly as this comment opportunity will expire on November 8.
Texas Firefighter Statistics: 78% of Texas Firefighters are Volunteers. Support your local fire department by donating today!
VFIS of Texas NEWS
Here you will find helpful information regarding firefighters, ems responders, and updates in insurance policies.