2014 Relief Fund Changes - North Carolina State Firemen`s

2014 Legislative Changes For
The Fire Service
HB 1034
HB 1034 was the result of 4 studies
conducted over a period of a year
by the Program Evaluation
Division of the General Assembly.
The NCSFA, NCAFC, and our Lobbyist
fought hard to get HB 1034 to a point
where the effect would not be negative
to our programs.
NC General Assembly
(PED is one)
Resulting Report Titles
“Local Boards and Associations Administer Firefighters' and Rescue Squad
Workers' Relief Funds with Limited State Oversight” (November 2013)
“Revenue and Cost Trends Indicate Deficit in Volunteer Safety Workers'
Compensation Fund in FY 2020–21” (February 2014)
“Department of State Treasurer Should Strengthen Its Oversight of the
Firefighters' and Rescue Squad Workers' Pension Fund” (March 2014)
“Improved Oversight of Volunteer Fire Department Fund and Volunteer
Rescue/EMS Fund Needed; $8 Million Surplus Found” (April 2014)
As you can see from the titles of the
reports, we were under fire from the
What could have been extremely
damaging to our programs actually
turned out pretty well.
This was their opening slide for
their RF report to the JLPEOC
“Overview: Recommendations:
The General Assembly should either
consolidate the firefighters’ relief funds and
make administration of all relief funds the
responsibility of DOI,
strongly improve oversight of relief funds
under their current administrative structures”
State Association
HB 1034 Changes
All four programs studied were
affected to a degree by HB 1034,
and all are funded in part by the
Gross Premium Tax
Gross Premium Tax
GPT Simple Definition = .074 Cents Per $100
of any NC insurance policy containing Fire Coverage
(i.e. homeowners, rental, etc.)
GPT Changes
New Distributions Amounts of The Gross Premium Tax
* Relief Fund
* Volunteer Safety Workers Comp Fund
* Volunteer Fire Department Grants 20%
* General Fund Redistributed to F&R Pension 40%
Relief Fund Changes
- Modernization of language and definitions (i.e.
firemen – firefighter)
- 1% increase in DOI Admin Fee
- Local and State Board to manage funds prudently
according to Chapter 36E (GS 36E)
- Increased Reporting requirements
- Electronic Transfer of Checks from DOI
Relief Fund Changes Cont’d
New Definition of Destitute Added
The determination of destitute shall be based on the
inability of the firefighters, through no fault of their own,
to provide basic provisions to themselves or their families.
Such basic provisions include, but are not limited to,
assistance with housing, vehicle or commuting expenses,
food, clothing, utilities, medical care, and funeral
Relief Fund Changes Cont’d
- Fire and Rescue Workers Pension Premiums
- Workers Compensation Premiums
- Annual Physicals required or recommended by NC
Dept. of Labor or NFPA
Relief Fund Changes Cont’d
“Financially Unsound” Defined *
“means that a local fund could not sustain a requested
expenditure or could not make similar payments for five
years without the local fund's balance falling below the
greater of the following:
(1) Five hundred dollars ($500.00) multiplied by the
number of eligible firefighters in the local department.
(2) Twenty thousand dollars ($20,000).”
* Used by NCSFA when approving disbursements.
Relief Fund Changes Cont’d
Increased Reporting Requirements
For Next Year - 2015
Details on the disbursements from local relief funds,
including how much was disbursed for each allowable
purpose and how many members received
disbursements for those purposes.
Relief Fund Changes Cont’d
No Legislative Restriction On Amount of Spending
“A local board of trustees shall not be restricted to making
disbursements solely from the interest earned on the local
board's relief fund”.
Relief Fund Changes Cont’d
The following provisions contained within any local act enacted or amended prior to
January 1, 2014, are hereby repealed:
(1) Any redirection, at the time of receipt, of funds directed to a fire district under G.S.
58-84-25(c) to a fund other than a local relief fund.
(2) Any restriction that would be inconsistent with G.S. 58-84-35(d).
(3) Any transfer of interest earned on a local relief fund from the local relief fund to
another fund.
(4) Any transfer of funds from a local relief fund to a supplemental retirement fund
based on the local relief fund exceeding a certain amount.
(5) Any allowable expenditures that are not within the scope of the list provided in G.S.
(6) Any variation from the certification requirement under
G.S. 58-84-35(b)."
Relief Fund Changes Cont’d
Simply stated, all relief funds, regardless of the type
account they are held in, cannot be hidden and must
be reported on the annual financial report; and all
funds, regardless of use, must be administered by
the Local Relief Fund Board.
Relief Fund Changes Cont’d
New Maximum Balance (For July 1, 2015)
The balance of a local fire department's Firefighter's Relief Fund for a
given year shall not exceed the product of multiplying the number of
members on the department's roster as of January 1 for that year by
the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).
A local fire department whose relief fund balance, at the time of annual
financial report, exceeds the maximum amount above shall not be
entitled to receive a check for that year, and the Commissioner shall
redistribute the funds that the department would have received to
other eligible departments, first within the county, then statewide.
Relief Fund Changes Cont’d
New Maximum Balance Exception
Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA)
A board of trustees of a local Firefighters' Relief Fund may, with the
authorization of and under guidelines provided by the North
Carolina State Firemen's Association, dedicate a portion of the local
Firefighters' Relief Fund towards providing supplemental retirement. If this
SRA approved by NCSFA is used solely for supplemental retirement within the
guidelines provided by the North Carolina State Firemen's Association, then
such dedicated amounts shall not count towards the maximum allowable
balance under subsection (a) of this section.
Allowable Maximum - Approved SRA = Reportable Maximum
Relief Fund Changes Cont’d
All NC Firefighters now protected by
NCSFA LODD Benefit regardless of
membership in the Association.
Volunteer Safety Workers
Comp Fund Changes
- Consistent Funding Source (GPT 20%)
- NCSFA, NCAFC, & NCAREMS Eligible to purchase WC
Coverage *
- Increased Actuarial Review by DOI
- Increased reporting requirements by DOI
- Increased Tracking and Information by WC Administrator (Key
* Benefits the VSWCF because of additional premiums with low loss risk.
Fire and Rescue Workers
Pension Plan Changes
!!! Removal of career separation requirement.
If you are 55 and have 20 years eligible paid up
service, effective October 1, 2014 you can draw
monthly benefits, career or volunteer !!!
Volunteer Fire Department
Grant Fund Changes
- For Departments who receive less than $50,000 from the
City of County each year in support, the matching grant
changes from 50/50 to 25/75, or $3 for every $1
- Property acquired from the Department of Defense
through the Firefighter Property (FFP) and federal Excess
Property (FEPP) programs is eligible for grants now.
Volunteer Rescue/EMS Grant Fund
- Grants are subject to the following priority order: (i) rescue units,
(ii) rescue/EMS units, (iii) EMS units that are licensed as EMS
providers under G.S 131E-155.1, and, finally, (iv) EMS units that
are volunteer fire departments that are a part of a county's EMS
system plan.
Volunteer Rescue/EMS Grant Fund
Changes (cont’d)
For the grant, "EMS unit" means either (i) an EMS provider licensed
under G.S 131E-155.1 or (ii) a volunteer fire or fire/rescue
department that is part of its county's EMS system plan. The unit or
squad must comply with existing State statutes and with eligibility
criteria established by the North Carolina Association of Rescue and
Emergency Medical Services, Inc.
Both Volunteer Grant Fund
Reimbursement of Funds. – If equipment purchased
with grant funds is disposed of within five years of the
date of the grant award funding its purchase, then the
grant recipient shall reimburse the appropriate fund the
amount of matching funds used for the purchase of the
equipment, less depreciation.
Both Volunteer Grant Fund
Transfer of Purchased Equipment. – If a grant recipient shall
cease to exist within five years of the date of award of the grant,
it shall transfer, subject to the approval of the Department of
Insurance, any and all equipment purchased with such grant
funds to whichever department shall assume responsibility for
providing service to the grant recipient's area of service or to
another appropriate department that may effectively use the
General Comments
Many Changes Listed in this
presentation for fire programs also
were changed in Rescue Programs.
The presentation primarily covered
changes effecting departments, not
state agency report requirements
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