The current maximum payment of $8,300 is provided to a qualified member of the association dying from natural causes. Firemen completing 84 months qualify for the full burial fund payment.
Should death occur in the LINE OF DUTY, the maximum benefit will be tripled and payable to the next of kin, as specified in Article VI, section 4, who were recorded on the Master List on file in the State Association Office, in compliance with the prescribed rules and regulations.
All requests, for either relief compensation from the local associations or for burial benefits from the State Association's General Fund, are thoroughly investigated and carefully screened under established guidelines.
Questions from time to time are asked about the necessity of the New Jersey State Firemen's Association. There seems to have been some misunderstandings concerning methods of operation.
Some have hinted that the Association is a little-known organization whose local relief associations operate with too much secrecy.
Not so, we are publicly active throughout the state, and we are respected by those who know our good work. We welcome questions, discussions and inspections.
Some have said the revenue on which we operate is passed on to property owners through increased fire insurance premiums. This is inaccurate.
Insurance rates are set fixed quantities to begin with. And although New Jersey is the only state in the country with a State Firemen's Association of this type, nearly all other states have the same 2% 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 firemen who were made benefactors by law.
Accusations have been made that the New Jersey State Firemen's Association and its local association have not been adhering to state legal reporting procedures, and cloak operations in a veil of secrecy.
Records speak for themselves and our' records can be checked with the Secretary of State of New Jersey where all local relief associations and the New Jersey State Firemen's Association file annual reports. .
Questions asked about the State Association have been numerous - and have come from legislators, journalists, homeowners, taxpayers, firemen and buyers of fire insurance. Nothing is withheld. To become acquainted more thoroughly, we would like to answer the following fundamental questions succinctly and honestly.
WHO BELONGS TO THE ASSOCIATION?
- Any fire company or department under municipal control by ordinance is eligible for membership in the association.
- At the present time, membership consists of 537 out of New Jersey's 566 municipalities.
- The roster now includes over 79,000 volunteers and career firefighters.
WHO SUPERVISES THE OVERALL OPERATION?
A 23-member executive committee, representing all counties in the State and 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 member advisory committee that acts on specific matters, such as burial claims, appeals, etc. This committee is appointed from within the executive committee.
HOW IS THE NEW JERSEY STATE FIREMEN'S ASSOCIATION CHARTERED?
As stipulated by law.
Revised Statutes 1996, Title 43, Chapter 17, initially Pamphlet Laws 1885 pp. 144 etc., Firemen's Relief Associations. Stringent rules pertain to the incorporation and rein corporation of local relief associations, transfer of moneys, membership and office holdings in local associations, elections to the State Association executive committee, convention participation, use and investment of funds, burial claims and to the conduct of their affairs and powers.
How is the 2% Revenue Funneled into the various Local Relief Associations?
All areas having local relief associations are designated by an assigned code number to which the insurance policies are identified. In turn, the 2% is recorded and paid by the various insurance companies to the New Jersey State Firemen's Association. Upon receipt of these funds, on or before May 15 of each year, a single check is mailed to each recorded and coded local association.
In return, this report is submitted to the State Commissioner of Banking and Insurance. In areas where no local firemen relief association exists, such money is also paid to the New Jersey State Firemen's Association, and that money is allocated to the budget of the New Jersey Firemen's Home.
How Much Money is Awarded by the Association Each Year - and for what?
Local relief associations are currently paying over $2.9 million dollars annually to eligible firemen and their families. This money is granted only after careful investigation and review of the application. The New Jersey State Firemen's Association annually pays in excess of $6.5 million dollars in burial benefits from its General Fund.
If you find that you require assistance, you may contact your Local Association, who will provide you with the necessary forms to determine if you qualify for the program.
Should you need assistance in locating your local Firemen's Relief Association you may contact this office to obtain the name, address and telephone number of the Local Relief Secretary.
Who Gets This Money?
Recipients of the burial benefits, according to established guidelines, include widows, widowers, children and parents. Others may qualify only after extensive investigation by the local association and the State Association Advisory Committee.
How Does the State Association Report its Activities to the State Government?
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 with the Secretary of State of New Jersey certifying the particulars of every local association, including audits 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.
What is the Firemen's Home, and how does it Work?
In 1898 the New Jersey State Firemen's Association saw a need to further uphold the dignity of distinguished service rendered by firemen. A permanent home was needed for those without families and means of support who might otherwise be forced to live in county or state institutions during the late years of life.
The Home is located in Boonton, New Jersey (Morris County) on an 85 acre tract of land. This home is managed by a Board of Managers (23) representing all counties in conjunction with the State Department of Institutions and Agencies. It operates under a separate budget. It is staffed by a full time superintendent with nurses and orderlies providing 24 hour service. In addition, a house physician is available at all times. Occupational and recreational therapy programs have been established. The Home also contains a Chapel, a museum of firematic items, and a cemetery to avoid the indignities of burial in potter's field.
The Home is no burden to the State of New Jersey. It is wholly financed through the distribution of receipts of 2% funding
The New Jersey State Firemen's Association has been operating effectively and charitably for twelve decades - helping members who have been injured and disabled, helping the families and next of kin of those firemen who have died in the line of duty, or after many years of devoted service to community fire protection.
Our operation on both the local and state level is administered by firemen who work together for the betterment of the community and for the welfare of our fellow citizens. We adhere to the laws of the State of New Jersey, including our own by-laws and constitution.
Secretaries of local associations have a copy of the Compendium and By-Laws of Local Firemen's Relief Association, which spells out the Law and procedures under which this association and local associations operate.
We are governed by a committee of executives chosen by local associations and elected at our annual convention. We strive for the advancement and best interest of all firemen, for the development and advancement of the best methods of fire protection, and to encourage a fraternity of firemen throughout the state and elsewhere.
We feel what we do is good. We feel our work is important - to firemen and to the public at large. Only through public support and understanding can this good, important work continue. .
New Jersey State Firemen's Association
H. Leigh Peterson, President
Sanford I. Weinberg, Secretary
50 Evergreen Place
East Orange, New Jersey 07018-2144 1-973-677 -9295