Spouse and Orphan’s Fund History Information
- Began in 1934 as the Widows and Orphan’s Fund.
- Was a committee of the Washington State Firefighter’s Association
- In 2000 the WSFFA considered the fund a “liability” and no longer wanted to be involved. The options were to dissolve the fund or re-incorporate. The decision was to re-incorporate under the Spouse and Orphan’s Fund. All monies were rolled over (after much argument because the WSFFA felt that the funds were theirs which, of course was not true).
- Concept was and still is “firefighters helping firefighters” beneficiaries in time of need.
- When a member died, an assessment of $1.00 per member was sent out to all members and the money was given to the member’s beneficiary. Note that this phrase still exists in our by-laws in Article VI: “Upon the death of any member of this fund, the Board of Trustees shall cause to be paid to the designated beneficiaries, a sum of money equal to one dollar for every member of the fund, except that in no event shall the total amount paid from fund for any death exceed One Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($1,750.00)” The minimum benefit payment is $1,000.00.
- As the fund grew in membership, this became too difficult to administer. So an annual assessment was set (currently $50.00 per member).
- Since 1990 our membership has dropped from 3515 members to 860 members. This has been caused by three reasons:
1. Deaths of older members
2. Members leaving the fund because their department no longer makes the annual payments.
3. Younger firefighters not joining the fund unless their department automatically enrolls them (as some departments do).
Safeguards in the fund
- If the fund balance falls below $25,000, there shall be levied an assessment (in addition to the annual assessment). (Article IV) and Appendix 2
- The benefit shall be at least $1.00 per member of the fund, not to exceed $1,750.00 (Article VI) with a minimum benefit of $1,000..
- It is expressly understood that there is no obligation on the part of the Board of Trustees to make payment to any individual or individuals, nor is there any absolute right on the part of anyone paying into this fund to receive such funds or direst it’s disposition except as provided herein (Article VII).
MEMBERSHIP IN THE SPOUSE AND ORPHAN'S FUND
As of December 31st of each year
NUMBER OF MEMBERS
* Widows and Orphan’s Fund Until 2000