Legislation proposes to allow firefighters disabled on the job to retain 20-year retirement in non-fire position

The legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2016.

legislationA Senator in Montana has introduced legislation that would allow a federal wildland firefighter who was injured and disabled on the job to retain the 20-year firefighter retirement track if they return to work in a non-fire position, rather than converting to the 30-year retirement program of ordinary federal employees.

U.S. Senator Steve Daines’ legislation would also allow the injured firefighter’s history of overtime pay to be considered as income for purposes of calculating worker’s compensation disability benefits.

Govtrack.us estimates that the bill has a 1 percent chance of being enacted, so it will take some serious grass roots efforts to ensure that it passes.

Senator Daines’ website has a page devoted to the legislation which has opinions about the bill from two firefighters, as well as Vicki Minor of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, and Casey Judd of the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association.

The bill is titled “S. 3544 — 114th Congress: Wildland Firefighter Retirement and Disability Compensation Benefits Act of 2016”. It can be tracked at Congress.gov.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

6 thoughts on “Legislation proposes to allow firefighters disabled on the job to retain 20-year retirement in non-fire position”

  1. THIS IS WONDERFUL! I GUESS FIREFIGHTERS DESERVE THE HIGHEST HONOR, PROTECTION, PROVISION AND SUPPORT NOT ONLY BY THE GOVERNMENT BUT EVERYONE ELSE! THEY PUT THEIR LIVES IN DANGER, THEY DON’T HESITATE TO RESPOND WHEN NEEDED. THE SAME IS TRUE OF POLICEMEN AND MOTHERS! I PRAISE AND HONOR THOSE THREE GROUPS OF PEOPLE – WE ARE SO BLESSED TO HAVE THEM IN OUR LIVES, IN OUR WORLD! IF ONLY ALL PEOPLE WOULD DO GOOD, HOW BEAUTIFUL AND PEACEFUL OUR LIVES WILL BE! GOD BLESS SENATOR STEVE DAINES FOR INTRODUCING THE BILL!!!

    ALSO, I AM THANKFUL THAT TENNESSEE IS FINALLY GETTING SOME REST FROM THOSE DREADFUL FIRES! MY PRECIOUS FAMILY LIVES IN SOUTHEASTERN TN AND I PRAY FOR THEM EVERYDAY TO BE SAFE! SOMETHING I WAS MOST THANKFUL FOR THIS PAST THANKSGIVING!

    1. Yes, Chris, it should be retroactive, considering the countless fires we have had all these months all over our country! What sacrifices! Bystanders, onlookers – we should at least be ready to hand a bottle of drinking water or a fruit or a sandwich to any firefighter who gets a chance to take in some food or liquids while doing something beneficial for us! They also need all the help they can obtain to sustain their energy and determination! This is my definition of “making America great!” Action and compassion complement each other!!
      Mere words and apathy pull us down!

  2. Well, I am not sure if it is pure coincidence, but I doubt it, a Mr. Bob Beckley from Montana has been fighting for this for a long time. He is a Union Rep., and it has been taken up by the Forest Service Council and the National Federation of Federal Employees as a priority legislative issue to lobby for. They began focusing on it last spring. It may be a longshot now, but so was the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act, and through years of determination the Union was able to get the support to get it passed. (The Act that allows temporary employees to apply to merit positions.)
    Thanks Bob for your efforts. Thanks also to all those who chip in to support these worthy causes.

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