The New Jersey State Firemen’s Association was formed under New Jersey Statutes 43:17-1 et.seq. in 1885. Our Association’s membership is made up of any Fire Company, Department or Fire District that is under Municipal control. These State Statutes are the rules that the Local Associations and the State Office must follow.
The New Jersey State Firemen’s Association is comprised of 538 Local Firemen’s Relief Associations consisting of approximately 71,000 Career and Volunteer Firefighters. It is within the Local’s scope to approve and grant relief to qualified local firefighters and their families who file an application for such assistance and demonstrate a need. Money for local funds comes from a levy on all fire insurance premiums written by insurance companies chartered outside the State of New Jersey.
With the current membership of active and retired firefighters, the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association has an obligation that must be maintained in a fiduciary manner. A full time staff of office personnel, working in conjunction with elected State
Officers are required to manage the daily operations. All requests, for either burial benefits or relief assistance from the local associations or from the State Association’s General Fund, are thoroughly investigated under established guidelines.
A firefighter must have been between the age of eighteen (18) and prior to their forty-sixth (46th) birthday at the time of joining to qualify for benefits. When a membership application is properly filled out, submitted and approved by the State Office, only then does that firefighter receive a line number and then he or she can start receiving credit toward a Qualifying Certificate. They must serve a period of 84 months, attending a minimum of 50% of all alarms and drills to receive the maximum burial benefit.
New Jersey has a unique system for aiding firefighters and their families by means of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association. Its purpose is to maintain a General Relief Fund that provides burial benefits to the family and financial relief for qualified members, a tradition being continued for over 137 years. It is the only Association of its kind in the United States.
All firefighters serving towards qualification earn credit for a burial benefit. This benefit is provided to survivors and/or other approved recipients according to the pro-rated scale below.
SCALE OF PAYMENTS BASED ON QUALIFIED SERVICE AS OF
JULY 1, 2016
Under 1 year - $6,000
1 year, but less than 2 years - $6,500
2 years, but less than 3 years - $6,700
3 years, but less than 4 years - $7,000
4 years, but less than 5 years - $7,200
5 years, but less than 6 years - $7,700
6 years, but less than 7 years - $8,000
7 years, and Qualified - $11,500
The current maximum payment of $11,500 is provided for a qualified member of the Association.
Should death occur in the LINE OF DUTY to any member, the maximum benefit will be tripled and payable as specified in General Relief Fund Rules Article VI, section 16-a, 16-b and 16-c.
Other states have the same tax levy on premiums written by out-of-state underwriters. In many states, that revenue is used for other purposes with little or no direct control by the firefighters who were made benefactors by law.
Our records are on file with the Secretary of State of New Jersey where all Local Relief Associations and the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association file annual reports.
A twenty-one (21) member Executive Committee, one from each County in the State, is elected annually at their County Caucus and confirmed at the State Convention. Their responsibilities include setting policy, overseeing the legal investment of all funds and examination of the annual reports of each association. All reports are subject to internal and external audits.
In addition, the State Association has an appointed five (5) member Advisory Committee whose duties shall be to consider and pass upon all claims filed against the General Relief Fund. The Advisory Committee acts on specific matters such as burial claims, special relief claims, appeals, etc.
The State Association has a working relationship with Deborah Hospital where a firefighter and family can go to Deborah. Deborah will work with their insurance company for payment.
Working with Deborah a program was started by Donna Buscio in memory of her husband, Dominick. .All current and retired firefighters have the opportunity to receive confidential comprehensive cardiovascular and pulmonary medical evaluations. Deborah will take the responsibility of billing the participant’s insurance provider.
LOCAL RELIEF ASSOCIATION FUNDING
An assigned ISO code number, to which the insurance policies are identified, designates assessment payment to the Local Relief Associations. In turn the funds are recorded and paid by the various insurance companies to the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association. The funds are then distributed and forwarded to the respective Local Relief Associations. This report is also submitted to the State Commissioner of Banking and Insurance.
The New Jersey State Firemen’s Association annually pays in excess of eight (8) million dollars in burial benefits from the General Fund. Local Relief Associations currently pay over $ 4.7 million dollars in financial assistance annually to eligible firefighters and their families. This money is granted only after thorough investigation and review of the applications.
ANY MEMBER IN NEED OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE SHOULD CONTACT THEIR LOCAL RELIEF ASSOCIATION.
ANY MEMBER WHO EMBEZZLES FUNDS FROM THE ASSOCIATION WILL BE DROPPED FROM THE ROLLS IMMEDIATELY AND WILL FORFEIT THE FAMILY’S RIGHT TO THE DEATH BENEFIT AS WELL AS ANY RELIEF PAYMENTS FOR THEM AND THEIR FAMILY.
IF ANY MEMBER IS CONVICTED OF ARSON, THEY WILL BE DROPPED IMMEDIATELY FROM THE ROLLS, THEIR FAMILY WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR NEITHER A DEATH BENEFIT NOR WILL THEY OR THEIR FAMILY BE ELIGIBLE FOR ANY RELIEF.
THESE PENALTIES APPLY TO ANY MEMBER, QUALIFIED OR NOT.
STATE GOVERNMENT REPORTING
Every year, as required by law, the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association forwards to the State Commissioner of Banking and Insurance a list of all local associations that have complied with the law in all respects. In addition, the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association must file an annual report for each local association with the Secretary of State of New Jersey by June 1st certifying the particulars of every local association, including field examinations performed by the Executive Committee, examinations of bonds and property, and assurance of proper care, safety and custody of the funds. Local associations not meeting the requirements demanded by the Office of the Secretary of State or who do not fulfill the qualifications under which local associations were chartered are not funded.
TOWARD THE FUTURE
The New Jersey State Firemen’s Association has been operating effectively for more than one hundred thirty-seven (137) years and will continue to do so in the future. Member firefighters and their families who are in need of assistance and the next of kin of those who died, naturally or in the LINE OF DUTY, can fully expect to receive eligible financial assistance from the association to include:
- Burial Benefit
- Local Relief
- Special Relief
- Supplemental Relief
We will continue to strive for the best interest of all firefighters, their families and continue to encourage a fraternity of all firefighters.
The Officers and Executive Committee are looking to expand benefits to their brother and sister firefighters. One possibility being looked at is aiding them to stay in their home as long as possible rather than entering a long term care facility. This program will also assist families in the event the firefighter is injured in their place of employment while they are home recuperating. The Executive Committee is currently conducting a survey amongst the local associations to see if the need is there to initiate such a program.
It is the obligation of the Officers of every Association to make a Membership Application (Tan Copy) available to every New Member of the Department between the ages of 18 and prior to their 46th birthday. It is the obligation of the individual Fire
Fighter to file an application with the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association making them eligible to receive the benefits afforded by the State Statutes. Part of the Application Process includes a Physical which must be completed by a Doctor who is licensed in New Jersey. The application must be returned to
the State Office within 180 days of the physical date. Only members with an Official Line Number assigned by the State Office can receive those benefits. Fire Fighters are reminded to check with officials of their Local Fire Company, Department or Fire District and Officers of their Local Firemen’s Relief Association to insure they are listed as a member of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association on the Active Firemen’s Membership Report. If any individual refuses to submit an application they must be offered a Waiver Form that must be filled out, notarized and returned to the State Office.
The New Jersey State Firemen’s Association has notified all Local Firemen’s Relief Associations that the Membership Report, “Green Sheets”, must be posted at local fire stations when received from the State Office.
NEW JERSEY FIREMEN'S HOME
In 1898 the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association recognized a need to provide a home for firefighters. The Lathrop family donated eighty-five (85) acres of land in Boonton, New Jersey located in Morris County for that purpose. Firefighters with one (1) or more years of service are eligible to enter the home. You do not have to be a member of the New Jersey State Firemen's Association to be eligible for admittance to the Firemen’s Home. A Board of Managers, representing all counties, manages the Firemen’s Home in conjunction with the State Department of Health and Senior Services. The Firemen’s Home is funded pursuant to State Statute N.J. S.A. 54:18-8. The State Association annually supplies Operating and Capital Budget monies to the NJ. State Firemen’s Home. Their current budget is $8.1 million dollars.
BOARD OF OFFICERS
President Frank B Gunson 3Rd
Vice President Robert F Ordway
Secretary Kevin B Finnegan
Treasurer Barry J Osborn
President Emeritus Ernest J Greenwald Sr
Field Examiner James J Kenny
Counsel Frank P Cavallo
1St Assistant Secretary Jacob J Genovay
2Nd Assistant Secretary Thomas J Pelaia
Cindy L Badger Atlantic
Gerard J Naylis Bergen
Richard K Dreby Burlington
Norman F Figueroa Jr Camden
Daniel F Speigel Cape May
James F Reeves Cumberland
Richard C Otterbein Essex
William J Mcnulty Gloucester
Daniel Mitchell Hudson
John R Phillips Hunterdon
Joseph M Lenarski Mercer
Andrew Mazzarella Middlesex
Robert J Kelly Monmouth
Eugene T Minell Morris
Joseph T Hankins Ocean
John V Lane Passaic
Francis X Walker Jr Salem
Allen F Kurdyla Somerset
Daniel L Scheuer Sussex
Nicholas J Florio Union
Konrad A Mellert Warren
New Jersey State Firemen’s Association
1700 Galloping Hill Road
Kenilworth, New Jersey 07033-1303
1-908-620-1871 Fax – 1-908-620-1874
Revised October 3, 2016