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RETIRED FIREFIGHTERS INFORMATION
1. Is group insurance available for paid and volunteer members at retirement?
Effective January 1, 2002 State Group Health Insurance is no longer available for paid and volunteer members upon retirement. Members who are currently with the state plan will be allowed to stay on the plan.
An option to consider is to continue the group insurance coverage provided by the participating municipality. Section 23-108(B) of Title 11 of the Oklahoma Statutes requires cities that provide health insurance to city employees and their dependents to offer the same coverage to retired employees and their dependents. Should a retiree or spouse not qualify for social security, a Medicare supplement can be obtained for an additional cost through the Social Security Office. Be aware that COBRA Insurance provides coverage for only a short period of time.
2. How are retirement benefits increased?
A. Cost of living increases can only be granted by the legislature.
B. For members who had completed twenty (20) years of service on or before May 26, 1983, automatic escalator increases were reinstated by a Federal Court Order dated December 7, 1987.
3. How is the obligation to pay benefits verified by the State Office?
Every two (2) years, a verification form will be mailed to all retirees receiving benefits from the System. This form is used to verify current status, current addresses, social security numbers, guardians, etc. If you are aware of a death of a retiree for spouse, please contact the state office. The member is required to sign the form or unless Guardianship papers or a Durable Power of Attorney is on file with the System allowing another person to sign the document. This is also true regarding widows of retired members.
4. What benefit is paid upon the death of a retired member?
In the event the death of a retired member, the spouse is entitled to one hundred percent (100%) of the benefits providing that they were married for at least thirty (30) continuous months prior to the retiree's death. If there is no eligible spouse, unmarried children under the age of eighteen (18) or twenty-two (22) if the child is enrolled full-time and regularly attending a public or private school or institution of higher learning, will be eligible for benefits. Any child adopted by a member after the member's retirement shall be a beneficiary if the adoption occurred for the thirty (30) continuous months preceding the member's death. Any child adopted by a member after the member's retirement and if such member dies accidentally or as a consequence of the performance of the member's duty as a firefighter shall not be subject to the thirty (30) month adoption requirement. A permanent disability (mental or physical) must occur before a child reaches eighteen (18) years of age in order to receive lifetime benefits. The pension will cease when the above criteria is not met.
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