The New Jersey State Firemen's Association was formed under New Jersey Statutes 43:17-1 et.seq. Stringent rules pertain to the incorporation of local relief associations, transfer of monies, membership and holding of office in local relief associations, elections of the State Association Officers and Executive Committee, convention participation, use and investment of funds, burial claims and to conduct the affairs of the Association.
The 76,000 plus Firefighters in New Jersey who are members of the New Jersey State Firemen's Association, both career and volunteer, are indispensable to the protection of the lives and property and to the safety of our communities. Often they work without so much as basic gratitude, giving years of their lives to a humane civic cause. Their services indeed are invaluable contributions and should be rewarded with respect and consideration.
New Jersey has a unique system for aiding firefighters and their families by means of the New Jersey State Firemen's Association, created in the late 1800's by state legislation. Its purpose is to maintain a General Relief Fund that provides burial benefits and financial relief for qualified members. It is the only Association of its kind in the United States.
Our State Association is comprised of local firemen's relief associations. It is within their 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 is 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.
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, 2011
Under 1 year - $6,000
Over 1 year but under 2 years - $6,400
Over 2 years but under 3 years - $6,500
Over 3 years but under 4 years - $6,600
Over 4 years but under 5 years - $6,700
Over 5 years but under 6 years - $6,800
Over 6 years but under 7 years - $6,900
Over 7 years, and Qualified - $10,000
The current maximum payment of $10,000 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 triple 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.
Association membership is made up of any fire company or department under municipal control by ordinance. Present membership consists of 538 local associations out of the New Jersey's 566 municipalities. The roster now includes over 76,000 volunteer and career firefighters.
A twenty-one (21) member Executive Committee, representing all counties in the state elected annually at the state convention supervises the State Association and controls the funds of the local relief associations. It also oversees the legal investment of all funds and examines the annual reports of each association. All reports are subject to internal and private audits. In addition, the State Association has an appointed five (5) member Advisory Committee that acts on specific matters, such as burial claims, special relief, appeals, etc.
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 seven (7) million dollars in burial benefits from the General Fund. Local relief associations currently pay over $5 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.
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 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.
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. 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. 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.
TOWARD THE FUTURE
The New Jersey State Firemen's Association has been operating effectively for more than one hundred twenty five (125) 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.
BOARD OF OFFICERS
President George H. Heflich, Sr.
Vice President Frank B. Gunson, 3rd
Secretary Sanford I. Weinberg
Treasurer Barry J. Osborn, CPA
1st Asst. Secretary Jacob J. Genovay
2nd Asst. Secretary H. Lee Baker
Field Examiner James J. Kenny
President Emeritus Ernest J.Greenwald, Sr.
Counsel Frank P. Cavallo Jr. Esq.
Asst. Counsel Stacy Moore
Henry W. Schoenstein, Jr. Atlantic
Robert F. Ordway Bergen
Richard K. Dreby Burlington
Norman F. Figueroa Jr. Camden
Robert C. Harvey Cape May
James F. Reeves Cumberland
Thomas J. Pelaia Essex
William J. McNulty Gloucester
Joseph D. Stauffer, Jr. Hudson
John R. Phillips Hunterdon
Joseph M. Lenarski Mercer
Carl S. Christensen Middlesex
Robert J. Kelly Monmouth
Kevin B. Finnegan Morris
Joseph T. Hankins Ocean
Donald C. Simmons Sr. Passaic
Francis X. Walker Jr. Salem
Neil J. Gallo Somerset
Charles A. Thom Sussex
Thomas Miller 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 January 1, 2012