New San Diego Firefighters Without Defined Death Benefits

Typically, firefighters’ pensions allow for death benefits to their families should a tragedy occur, reports NBC San Diego.

When voters approved Proposition B, known as pension reform, city officials vowed that firefighters would never face the situation of being without that benefit.

After the vote, there’s no clear structure for paying out death or disability benefits post Proposition B.

The city has no new insurance policies taken out to provide death or disability benefits to firefighters hired after the city passed comprehensive pension reform.

Several key city officials told NBC 7 Investigates the money to pay out death and disability benefits for new-hires would come out of the General Fund, as opposed to previously coming out of SDCERS money. They also say they are waiting to address situation after a final determination on Proposition B’s legality

City officials also say they know they are obligated to pay a death benefit, but no one knows what that check would look like, or how it would be paid out.

Before June 2012, Councilman Kevin Faulconer, a candidate for mayor, and former Mayor Jerry Sanders had an alternate plan that kept firefighter’s death benefits intact.

They compromised with Carl DeMaio, but vowed firefighters would never be in this situation.
Faulconer says fixing this is a top priority.

“Providing death and disability benefits for firefighters and lifeguards who put their lives on the line is simply the right thing to do,” Faulconer said. “That’s why I fought to include it in the Comprehensive Pension Reform ballot initiative, and why I will work to implement it as mayor.”

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