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August 25, 2020
Bulletin    31 – 20

 

LEGISLATION TO ESTABLISH PRESUMPTIVE BENEFIT FOR COVID-19 SIGNED INTO LAW

 

Reminder to Update Your Beneficiary Information
and Increase Your Supplemental Life and AD&D Coverage

 

As we continue to mourn the tragic loss of our Brother Jose Perez, who passed due to complications from COVID-19, UFLAC wanted to provide information to our members regarding recent bipartisan legislation that was endorsed by the International Association of Fire Fighters to establish a presumptive benefit under the Public Safety Officer Benefit (PSOB) Program for public safety officers who contract COVID-19. This also serves as a stark reminder to review your own Dependent and Beneficiary information and confirm that your affairs are in order to make sure your loved ones are financially secure should the unthinkable happen.

Public Safety Officers Benefits Program

On August 14th, President Trump signed bipartisan legislation by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to improve timely access to financial assistance for families of public safety officers lost to COVID-19. The Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act (SAFR) clarifies certification requirements for survivor benefits under the PSOB Program to account for the unique challenges presented by the current coronavirus pandemic.

“While this pandemic has changed daily life for so many Americans, our brave first responders have continued to put their lives on the line to protect our communities – and they’ve done so at significantly increased risk to themselves and to their families. We have lost far too many first responders to COVID-19, and their families will now without question receive the federal benefits they deserve in their time of unimaginable loss. Our first responders never hesitate to answer the call, and we must always answer theirs,” Booker said.

“Today’s vote sends a loud and clear message to America’s public safety officers: We appreciate your steadfast dedication in the most trying times and we’re here to help if the unthinkable happens. Losing a first responder in the line of duty is always devastating. Families of those lost to COVID-19 shouldn’t face an uphill struggle to access financial support promised to them. The government already provides payments to families of officers or first responders who die or are permanently disabled from a work-related event. This bipartisan bill recognizes the unique challenges posed by this pandemic and better ensures that public safety officers’ families can quickly access financial help,” Senator Grassley said.

The PSOB Program, administered by the Justice Department, provides death benefits to survivors of police officers and first responders who perish in the line of duty or as a result of a work-related event. It also provides disability benefits to those who are permanently disabled due to their work. The program requires evidence linking deaths or disabilities caused by an infectious disease to work-related activity. In many cases, the origin of an infection can be easily identified, but determining where and when someone contracts COVID-19 in the midst of a global pandemic presents a unique challenge.

SAFR works to overcome this challenge by establishing a temporary presumption that COVID-19 infections will be considered to be contracted while on duty if diagnosed within 45 days of an officer’s last shift. The legislation ensures that families of officers and first responders lost or disabled while fighting the pandemic don’t face unnecessary barriers to benefits they’ve already been promised.

As the PSOB Office receives claims based on COVID-19 exposure, it will work closely with survivors, officers, and agencies to obtain whatever evidence may be needed to support each claim, through all available information, including incident reports and related documents.

For questions regarding the PSOB Program or filing a claim, visit PSOB’s online portal at www.psob.gov or email the PSOB Director at [email protected].

Confirm Your Beneficiary Information

When is the last time you checked your beneficiaries? Although it may not always be on the top of your mind, please remember to confirm and update your current dependent and beneficiary information on all of your personal documents. Should there ever be a need to use this information, we want to make sure that you and your loved ones are covered in case of an emergency.

Most of us sign-up for a policy and forget that our lives are constantly changing. Your status may change due to marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, etc., which is why we recommend taking the time to review and update your personal accounts (pension, bank and brokerage, and life insurance policies) on an annual basis.

You can update your Beneficiary information by calling the UFLAC Benefits Office at 213.977.9014, extension 2. To make changes and learn more, visit www.uflacbenefitenrollment.com.

Increase Your Supplemental Life and AD&D Coverage During Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is right around the corner and this is your chance to increase your UFLAC Supplemental Life/AD&D (Accidental Death & Dismemberment) Coverage. If you participate in the Basic coverage, you are eligible for Supplemental Life and AD&D coverage.

Open Enrollment will take place from September 14th – October 31st and this is your only opportunity to change plans and add or remove dependents from coverage unless you experience a Qualifying Life Event. During the 2021 Open Enrollment, active members and their spouses may enroll in or increase their coverage without a medical exam:

  • Up to $200,000 for active members
  • Up to $80,000 for active spouses

Stay tuned for more information during Open Enrollment! 

Stay Safe & Healthy!
UFLAC Executive Board

August 14, 2020
Bulletin    30 – 20

 

UFLAC General Membership Meeting
August 26, 2020
UFLAC Offices
1571 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90026
JOIN US FOR BREAKFAST AND COFFEE 

 

 

0730               Stewards Meeting
0800               General Membership Meeting

Call to Order
Pledge of Allegiance
Moment of Silence for our past fallen UFLAC Firefighters
Invocation
Roll Call of Officers
Adoption of the Minutes
Committee Reports

GUEST:         None

  1. Update on recent Letters of Agreement.
  1. Suggestions and input on Assign Hire Process. 
  1. Unfinished Business
  1. New Business

Adjournment

Executive Board – United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, Local #112


Bulletin 29-20

August 12, 2020

UFLAC Announces Expansion of Behavioral Health Team

 

 

UFLAC is thrilled to announce the expansion of our Behavioral Health Team with the addition of Clinical Psychologist Dr. Samantha Tamburro, who will work alongside Dr. Steve, and Vera Rodriguez, who was brought on board as a Behavioral Health Intern at UFLAC’s Center for Health and Wellness.

 

Recognizing that the fire service is a unique workplace, we knew that we did not just want to find competent clinicians, but we also sought professionals who had knowledge of the fire service culture. It is widely recognized today that cultural competency is important for a clinician to be effective in the fire service environment.

 

Dr. Samantha Tamburro is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and has been working in the Conejo Valley for 25 years. Dr. Tamburro graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Psychology from the University of Southern California. She received her doctorate degree from Pepperdine Universit

Dr. Tamburro has been in the fire family for 22 years. She is married to a Glendale Fire Captain and has three teenage daughters. She understands the stressors and benefits that come along with a fire service career and will be an incredible resource for our members and their families in her work with children, adolescents, and adults.

 

 

Vera is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (No. AMFT #120027), supervised by Dr. Steve (LMFT #7666). Vera recently graduated with her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from USC after completing her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Applied Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. She is currently working to complete her hours to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over the past year, Vera worked as an MFT Trainee at a private high school where she provided individual and family counseling, as well as crisis intervention.

 

Vera has a passion to work with Firefighters as her father is a Captain for LACoFD. Growing up in a fire family, she has experienced both the challenges and the strengths that come with the nature of the job and recognizes the role mental health can play. As an AMFT, Vera can provide individual, couple, and group counseling.

 

Dr. Tamburro and Vera have a tremendous respect for the sacrifices, courage, and selflessness that Firefighters and their loved ones make every day, and this fuels their inspiration to work with our members and their families. In their short time at UFLAC, they have already worked with the Peer Support Team, assisted with debriefings and defusings in the aftermath of critical incidents, and participated in a webinar that focused on communicating with your child from a fire family perspective.

 

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Samantha Tamburro and Vera Rodriguez to our Team!

 

Dr. Steve Froehlich

Behavioral Health Services Director

United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, IAFF Local 112

Office: 1-800-252-8352, Ext. 245

Cell: 818-645-9027

 

Dr. Samantha Tamburro
Cell:  805-231-3032

Vera Rodriguez
Cell: 949-939-0640

 

July 17, 2020
Bulletin    27 – 20

 

UFLAC General Membership Meeting
July 29, 2020
UFLAC Offices
1571 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90026
JOIN US FOR BREAKFAST AND COFFEE 

 

0730                Stewards Meeting

0800               Special Guest: Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, CD 13

0830               General Membership Meeting

Call to Order
Pledge of Allegiance
Moment of Silence for our past fallen UFLAC Firefighters
Invocation
Roll Call of Officers
Adoption of the Minutes
Committee Reports

    1. Report on LAFD Budget
    2. COVID19 update
    3. Update on members from the Boyd Street incident
    4. Unfinished Business
    5. New Business

2 Drawings for the Membership (UFLAC Board Members are NOT eligible)
Last month’s raffle winners:

$100 –  Greg Hoerner  CIU
$1,000 – Gabriel Batriz – not present
$1000 –  – not present to receive

Adjournment

Executive Board
United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, Local #112

 

July 15, 2020

Bulletin 26-20

GROWING UP IN A FIRE FAMILY

Tune into the next Webinar on July 23rd at (7 pm)

& Welcome our new Behavioral Health Team Members

 

To Our Members and Our Families:

 

As many of you know, UFLAC and the LAFD jointly conducted the very first Family Webinar on April 14, 2020. Together, the Union President and the Fire Chief began this conversation. Based upon the comments that we received, we realize the need to continue the conversation. The focus of the next webinar, “Growing Up In A Fire Family,” came about through your feedback and we thank you and look forward to receiving your input for additional topics that you are interested in learning more about from the behavioral health field.

 

Also, UFLAC is thrilled to announce the expansion of our Behavioral Health Staff. UFLAC has hired a Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Samantha Tamburro, to work alongside Dr. Steve and we have brought on board a recent graduate from USC, Vera Rodriguez, who has joined our staff as our Behavioral Health Intern. Recognizing that the fire service is a unique workplace, we knew that we did not just want to find good, competent clinicians, but we sought professionals who also had knowledge of the fire service culture. It is widely recognized today that cultural competency is important for a clinician to be effective in the fire service environment.

 

We are excited to be able to share with you that both clinicians, Dr. Sami Tamburro and Vera Rodriguez, meet that standard. Sami is not only a Clinical Psychologist, but she is also a mother of three and married to a Glendale Firefighter. Vera comes from a fire family herself. Her dad is a Captain with the LACoFD and can help us better understand some of the issues that kids face growing up within the fire service since she brings both her higher education as well as her personal experience of the unique dynamics present in a fire family. Vera will take the lead in the upcoming discussion and Sami will guide the next Webinar, which will focus on the dynamics of being married to a Firefighter.

 

In this Webinar a variety of topics will be addressed from stress, anxiety, developmental growth, and as a parent, how to assist your child from a fire family perspective. There is an unpredictable and spontaneous element at the center of this profession which many of the challenges may derive from.  However, the Webinar will also highlight the strength and resiliency that come innately to fire families that may be beneficial in sharing with your loved ones.

 

We hope you can join us on Thursday, July 23rd for this discussion!

 

WEBINAR DETAILS:

DATE:   THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2020

TIME:   7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

 

RSVP to Maria Rendon, UFLAC Behavioral Health Program Administrator, at [email protected].

Please click HERE to register.

July 14, 2020
Bulletin 25-20

A Message from UFLAC’s Behavioral Health Service Director

 

2020 has been quite a year so far, and we are only about halfway through! To date, we have faced a worldwide pandemic, social unrest, the Boyd Street Incident, an earthquake, and then a COVID-19 surge. The thing that is so remarkable is that all of these extraordinary events are in addition to the normal day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

Our role in all of this on the Behavioral Health side is to focus on the emotional wellbeing of our Fire Department members and our members’ families. The nature of the job is to repeatedly respond to emergency situations quickly and professionally. There can be a cumulative stress load that comes along with the job that can affect our members and our members’ loved ones. 

UFLAC and the LAFD recognize the needs of the membership and are building robust, culturally competent behavioral health programs to support the emotional wellbeing of our members as well as your families. The Union and the Department both encourage members to utilize these confidential services when needed. Peer Support and professional behavioral health resources are both available on a 24/7 basis, at no cost for our members and your families. Above all, we want our members and families to know that you are never alone. We are just a phone call away if needed.

Thank you for the long hours that you put in during a shift and thank you to the families who pick up the slack at home when you are at work. We appreciate you all.

Take Care and Stay Safe!

 

Dr. Steve
Behavioral Health Services Director
United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, IAFF Local 112
Office: 1-800-252-8352, Ext. 245
Cell: 818-645-9027

 

July 6, 2020

UFLAC Active Member
1571 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

RE: UFLAC Long Term Disability Plan Clarifications

Dear UFLAC Member,

We have become aware that there has been false information distributed to our membership regarding the UFLAC Long Term Disability (LTD) plans. Any information communicated regarding the UFLAC LTD plans by anyone other than the UFLAC Trust and specifically, by the California Association of Professional Firefighters (CAPF), is used to market their LTD plan and is not accurate.  False statements are made and are intended to mislead membership into buying their product.

As your UFLAC Benefits Trustees, we want to make sure that you are well informed of the comprehensive and enhanced LTD options available to you as UFLAC members. As a reminder, the UFLAC LTD plans are the only long-term disability plans endorsed by your Union.

Why did UFLAC leave CAPF?

CAPF is a “pay-as-you-go” system, which means the plan does NOT reserve for active or future claim payouts. “Pay as you go”, is a system in which current collected premiums are used to pay for active benefits and little to no money is put aside for potential future benefits. This means that if too many members become disabled in a brief timeframe, the plan could collapse, and benefits would not be paid.  Additionally, because the CAPF product is not insured, the benefits are not guaranteed and are only paid if enough money is collected. As of 2013, CAPF only had total assets of approximately $3.5M, although they insured around 16,000 participants.

For comparison, the current UFLAC LTD plans are fully-insured through Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, a company with over $30B in assets and reserves that can be used to pay plan participants. As of July 1, 2019, Reliance Standard had set aside nearly $4.2M in reserve just to pay future UFLAC LTD benefits for those currently out on claim.

This reserving process is extremely important for member benefits and security; if our current fully-insured LTD plan does not adequately or appropriately reserve, Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company will be subject to legal action.  And no matter what, the benefits owed to our members are GUARANTEED TO BE PAID.

Moreover, CAPF has been found by a federal court to have violated ERISA by engaging in self-dealing. In addition, firefighter Barboza and the Department of Labor raised concerns that CAPF failed to undertake annual actuarial reviews, monitor the fund’s solvency, or adopt an adequate funding policy. On the next page, please find a comparison between CAPF’s “pay-as-you-go” LTD plan vs. the reserved fully-insured UFLAC LTD plans.

CAPF UFLAC*
Funding “Pay-as-you-go” Fully-Insured
Current enrollment 16,000 members 1,854 members
Reserves for current claimants only None reported $4,200,000
Insured No – Not guaranteed Yes – Guaranteed

*As of July 1, 2019

How do the UFLAC LTD plans work?

The UFLAC LTD plans provide you with a monthly benefit in the event that you are unable to work due to an injury or illness, so long as your physician deems you as disabled. UFLAC offers members two fully-insured LTD options through Reliance Standard Life Insurance, the Premium and Standard plans. Below, is a comparison of the two UFLAC LTD plans:

Benefits Premium
LTD Plan
July 1, 2019
Standard
LTD Plan
July 1, 2019
Percentage of Covered Monthly Earnings 70%
(INCLUDES overtime)
60%
(EXCLUDES overtime)
Maximum Monthly Benefit $10,000 $10,000
Minimum Monthly Benefit $100 $100
Elimination Period 90 days 180 days

Please note, this is not a complete list of the UFLAC LTD benefits. Review your certificate of coverage for more details. 

How long do the LTD benefits last?

During the first 24 months, (known as the Own Occupation period), the plans pay benefits if you are unable to perform the duties of your own occupation with the LAFD. After 24 months, the plan pays benefits if you are unable to perform the duties of any occupation based on your education, training, or experience, which is known as the Any Occupation period. If you continue to meet the requirements of being Totally Disabled, benefits are payable up to the Social Security Normal Retirement Age (SSNRA). If you are not approved for disability during the Any Occupation period, your benefits will end.

Why did I receive a benefit payment less than 60% or 70% of my covered monthly earnings?

While you are using your LTD benefits, any income you receive or are entitled to receive because of your disability may be used to offset your monthly LTD benefit. Your monthly LTD benefit may be reduced if you are eligible to receive one or more of the following sources of Other Income Benefits as a result of your disability:

  • Other Group Disability Benefits including LAFRA
  • 4850-time (IOD Pay)
  • Workers’ Compensation (State-Rate)
  • Retirement Benefits

Please be aware that your accrued sick time, prior to your date of disability, is not considered an eligible Other Income Benefit and will not offset your monthly LTD benefit.

Please note, this is not a complete list of Other Income Benefits. Review your certificate of coverage for more details.

If you are already receiving more than your calculated maximum monthly LTD benefit from another source of disability income, the UFLAC plans will still provide you with a minimum monthly benefit of $100. The following examples are provided to help explain how the LTD benefits coordinate with Other Income Benefits.

Injured on Duty (IOD) LTD Claim Example

IOD Claim Example Year 1: A member is enrolled in the UFLAC Premium LTD plan and is injured on duty. The member earns $120,000 per year (including overtime), which translates to a maximum monthly benefit of $7,000 (70% of $10,000/month). The member is also receiving $8,000 from 4850-time for their first year of injury. Under this IOD scenario, the UFLAC Premium LTD plan would provide the minimum monthly benefit of $100, because the member’s LTD benefit is fully offset by their earnings from 4850-time for the first year.

IOD Claim Example Year 2: The same member’s disability continues beyond the first year of 4850-time. Now the member is eligible to receive a lower dollar amount from State-Rate, $6,000 per month. Under this IOD scenario, the UFLAC Premium LTD plan would provide a $1,000 monthly benefit to cover the gap between the member’s calculated $7,000 benefit vs. what they are receiving from State-Rate.

IOD Claim Example Year 3: The same member’s disability continues beyond the second year of State-Rate, and the member is still considered disabled in accordance with the LTD policy. Assuming the member is not receiving any other income, the UFLAC Premium LTD plan would provide the member’s calculated maximum monthly benefit of $7,000. Please note, this scenario also assumes that the member has been approved for benefits during the Any Occupation period.

Please note, if you experience an off-duty injury and you are not eligible to receive any other source of Other Income Benefits, LTD benefits will be paid in accordance with the Year 3 example above. As long as you continue to be considered Totally Disabled, benefits are payable up to the Social Security Normal Retirement Age (SSNRA).

As evidenced by this communication, the UFLAC Trustees believe CAPF to be engaging in predatory and false marketing to our represented members. They have been aggressively targeting our members to enroll in an unendorsed, non-payroll deducted, and non-guaranteed product. We hope the information included in this communication will help provide our members with better transparency on the benefits available through the UFLAC LTD plans and empower them to make an informed decision for themselves and their families.

UFLAC is here to serve you – our Los Angeles City Firefighters. We want to make sure our members are well informed about ALL benefits available to you. For more information, please visit www.uflacbenefitenrollment.com or contact the UFLAC Benefits Staff at 213-977-9014, Ext. 2.

UFLAC v CAPF Plan Comparison Flyer

Very truly yours,
UFLAC Trustees

June 15, 2020
Bulletin 24 – 20

UFLAC General Membership Meeting
June 24, 2020
UFLAC Offices
1571 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
JOIN US FOR BREAKFAST AND COFFEE

0730 Stewards Meeting
0800 General Membership Meeting

Call to Order
Pledge of Allegiance
Moment of Silence for our past fallen UFLAC Firefighters
Invocation
Roll Call of Officers
Adoption of the Minutes
Committee Reports

1. Update on LA City Budget.

2. Update on 2019 yearbook expenditure.

3. Update on Boyd incident.

4. Update on COVID-19 testing.

5. Update on AH procedures.

6. New Business

2 Drawings for the Membership (UFLAC Board Members are NOT eligible)
Last month’s raffle winners:

$ 100 – Chen Lam 39
$1000 – Justin Spina 98 – not present to receive

Adjournment
Executive Board
United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, Local #112