STATE OF WISCONSIN DEATH BENEFITS
To obtain certified copies of registered personal documents, contact the State
of Wisconsin, Department of Health, Vital Records, P. O. Box 309, Madison,
WI 53702, phone (608) 267-8810.
STATE DEATH BENEFITS
A sum equal to the 75% of the primary death benefit as of the date of death,
but not less than $50,000 to the persons wholly dependent on the deceased.
There are additional provisions for increasing the amount of the benefit if
there are more than four dependents.
The effect of “heart-related” causes on payment under this section:
The statute requires that the death arises from “an accidental injury” while
in performance of his or her duties. Unlike the statutes covering disability
payments which allow for injury or disease, this statute specifies accidental
injury. In most cases this one-time death benefit would not be paid to an officer
dying of “heart-related causes”.
Contact the Department of Industry, Labor & Human Relations, P.O. Box
7901, Madison, WI 53707-7901, telephone 608-266-3131.
STATE PENSION BENEFITS
Pension benefits differ from agency to agency. Contact your officer’s member
retirement facilitator or the Department of Employee Trust Funds (Wisconsin
Retirement Fund), 201 E. Washington Avenue, Room 166, Madison, Wisconsin 53707.
If the employee killed is under 55 years old and started working after 1965,
then the spouse receives only what is in the decedent’s retirement account
at the time of death.
If the employee was hired prior to 1965, the sum that time would be adjusted
upward for inflation so that the payout would reflect the value of that sum
in 1987 dollars. In addition, the employer must match that amount.
If the deceased is over 55 years old, then the spouse receives the same pension
that the officer would have received had he lived.
Benefits will cease upon remarriage.
In 1996 the Governor of Wisconsin signed the 1995 Wisconsin Act 228 which
waives tuition and fees for surviving children at the 16 campuses that are
part of the university of Wisconsin System and at state-supported vocational/technical
schools that are part of the Technical College System. As of March, 1998, tuition
and fees are also waived for surviving spouses.
To receive the waiver, the surviving child of a law enforcement officer killed
in the line of duty must have been under the age of 21 (or in utero) at the
time of the death. For survivors enrolled in the university system, the waiver
is in effect for up to five consecutive years. The student must be in good
standing and enrolled in a program that leads to a bachelor’s degree.
For survivors enrolled in the technical college system, the waiver is in effect
for up to three consecutive years. The student must be in good standing and
enrolled in a program leading to an associate of arts degree, a collegiate
transfer program, or a vocational diploma program.
Qualifying students should let the school know of their survivorship status
at the time of application for admission. Students will need to provide the
school with written documentation certifying their parent was killed in the
line of duty. If you need assistance, contact the Wisconsin Law Enforcement
Memorial, Inc., P.O. Box 2733, Madison, WI 53701-2733, telephone (608) 846-9854.
POLICE CORPS SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS
The Police Corps is administered by the Office of the Police Corps and Law
Enforcement Education (OPCLEE), within the Office of Justice Programs, US Department
of Justice, in partnership with participating States that have submitted an
approved State Plan. Information can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/opclee.
The Police Corps awards scholarships and reimburses educational expenses to
students who agree to work in a State or local police force for at least four
years. Students must pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree in a course
of study which, in the judgment of the State or local police force to which
the participant will be assigned, includes appropriate preparation for police
service. Police Corps funds cover education expenses (including tuition, fees,
books, supplies, transportation, room and board, and miscellaneous expenses)
up to $7,500 per academic year, with a limit on total payments to any student
Police Corps scholarship funds are also available to dependent children of
law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty if the death occurred within
the state after that state was approved to participate in the Police Corps
program. In Wisconsin, the death must have occurred since September 1999. These
scholarships may be applied to any course of study, without any service or
Police Corps participants are selected on a competitive basis by each State
under regulations prescribed by OPCLEE
For more information, contact: Office of Justice Assistance, Mr. Steve Grohmann,
Health insurance coverage will continue for surviving spouses if, at the time
of death, the officer was an active employee and had family coverage in place.
The spouse can continue the coverage, but must pay the insurance premiums.
For additional information contact the Department of Employee Trust Fund, 201
E. Washington Avenue, Room 166, Madison, WI 53707.
Workers’ Compensation coverage is compulsory for employers with 3 or more
employees in Wisconsin.
102.475 Death Benefit. If the deceased employee is a law enforcement officer
on state active duty or if the deceased person is an employee or volunteer
performing emergency government activities during a state of emergency who
sustained an accidental injury while performing services growing out of and
incidental to that employment or volunteer activity so that benefits are payable
under section 102.46 or 102.47
(1) The department shall voucher and pay from the appropriation a sum equal
to 75% of the primary death benefit as of the date of death, but not less than
$50,000 to the persons wholly dependent upon the deceased.
Payments to dependents. If there are more than 4 persons who are wholly dependent
upon the deceased employee, an additional benefit of $2,000 shall be paid for
each dependent in excess of 4.
If there is more than one person who is wholly dependent upon the deceased
employee, the benefits under this section shall be apportioned between such
dependents on the same proportional basis as the primary death benefit.
Not to affect other rights, benefits or compensation. The compensation provided
for in this section is in addition to, and not exclusive of, any pension rights,
death benefits or other compensation otherwise payable by law.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits the surviving spouse must take the
initiative and file a workers’ compensation claim through a workers’ compensation
attorney to receive any compensation. The determination as to whether the claim
will be paid will be determined by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
For specific information concerning your specific family situation contact
the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Department of Industry Labor and
Human Relations, 201 East Washington Avenue, P.O. Box 7901, Madison, WI 53707,
telephone (608) 266-1340.
PERSONAL LIFE POLICIES
Real Estate – All property descends as follows:
(1) Spouse takes entire estate if no surviving issue, or if surviving issue
are all issue of surviving spouse and decedent; if there are surviving issue
any one of whom are not issue of surviving spouse, spouse take one-half of
decedent’s estate not disposed of by will consisting of decedent’s property
other than marital property;
(2) issue take share of estate not passing to spouse or entire estate if there
is no surviving spouse; issue in same degree of kinship take equally but if
they are of unequal degree then take be representation;
(3) if there is no surviving spouse or issue, property descends as follows:
(a) parents or surviving parent;
(b) brothers and sisters, descendants of deceased brothers and sisters taking
(d) next of kin of equal degree.
If potential heir dies within 72 hours of death of decedent, property of decedent
passes as if person had predeceased decedent. Interest in home is assigned
to surviving spouse as part of his or her share unless surviving spouse requests
otherwise. Person to whom property would otherwise pass may disclaim all or
part of property by filing signed declaration of disclaimer with court and
serving copy on personal representative or holder of legal title to property
within nine months after date of decedent’s death.
Degrees of kindred are computed according to the rules of the civil law.
Surviving spouse takes as indicated in subhead Real Estate, supra.
PEER SUPPORT ORGANIZATION
Established in 1984, Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (COPS), is a national,
non-profit organization that works with law enforcement agencies, police organizations,
mental health professional, and local peer-support organizations to provide
assistance to surviving families of law enforcement officers killed in the
line of duty. COPS has become a “lifeline” to police survivors nationwide.
Contact: Wisconsin COPS, Mr. Harold Weinke, Chapter President, PO Box 103,
Rock Springs, WI 53961, telephone (608) 524-5159, firstname.lastname@example.org
In Southern Wisconsin there is an organization that lends psychological support
services to the families of officers. Contact Cops Helping Cops, P.O. Box 14634,
Madison, WI 53714, phone (608) 222-0463.
Victims Compensation Programs – There are victim/witness assistance programs
located in each county of the state as well as the main office. Contact the
Wisconsin Department of Justice, Office of Crime Victims Services, 222 State
Street, P.O. Box 7951, Madison, WI 53707-7951, phone (800) 446-6564 or (608)
266-6470, fax (608) 266- 6676.
Law Enforcement Officers Memorial – The memorial was dedicated June 28, 1998.
For more information contact Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial, Inc., Lt.
Brian Willison, P.O. Box 2733, Madison, WI 53701-2733, telephone (608) 846-9854.
Wisconsin Professional Police Association – A $500 death benefit is provided
to the beneficiaries of its members who are killed in the line of duty. Contact
the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, General Operations, 660 John
Nolen Dr., Suite 300, Madison, WI 53713; (608) 273-3840 or the Law Enforcement
Employee Relations: 9730 W. Bluemound Road, Wauwatosa, WI 53226; (414) 257-4000
or call 800-362-8838.
For information about benefits or for assistance in obtaining benefits, contact
Lt. Brian Willison, Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial, Inc., P. O. Box 2733,
Madison, WI 53701-2733, telephone (608) 846-9854, or contact Lt. Willison at
the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, 115 W. Doty Street, Madison, WI 53703,
telephone (608) 266-3456.