The Firefighter Cancer Benefit

What is the purpose of the Program?

Florida Statute 112.1816 was enacted by the Legislature and signed into law on July 1, 2019. The statute makes firefighters, who are diagnosed with certain cancers, eligible to received certain disability or death benefits. Specifically, in lieu of pursuing workers’ compensation coverage, a firefighter shall be entitled to benefits as defined under the law.


  • A one-time $25,000 cash benefit, paid upon the diagnosis of cancer.
  • Reimbursement of covered out-of-pocket expenses related to the diagnosis of cancer
  • A $75,000 cash benefit will be paid in the event of the firefighter’s death due to complications associated with the diagnosed cancer. The cause of death must be confirmed by a physician who is board certified in the medical specialty that is appropriate for the type of cancer involved.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the effective date of the coverage under the Law?  Coverage began on July 1, 2019

What cancers are covered under the Law?  The law specifically lists 21 types of cancer compensable under the Law:

  1. Bladder
  2. Brain
  3. Breast
  4. Cervical
  5. Colon
  6. Esophageal
  7. Invasive skin
  8. Kidney
  9. Large intestinal
  10. Lung
  11. Malignant melanoma
  12. Mesothelioma
  13. Multiple myeloma
  14. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  15. Oral cavity and pharynx
  16. Ovarian
  17. Prostate
  18. Rectal
  19. Stomach
  20. Testicular
  21. Thyroid

What are the benefits under the law? For eligible claims, the law provides for a one-time lump sum cash benefit of $25,000 and reimbursement of covered out-of-pocket costs related to cancer treatment.

Are covered cancers diagnosed prior to the July 1, 2019 effective date covered by the Program? Yes, however, for eligible claims, only a reimbursement of covered out-of-pocket costs related to the cancer treatment are payable. Cancer diagnoses prior to July 1, 2019 are not eligible for the lump sum cash benefit of $25,000.

What are the eligibility criteria for coverage under this program?Eligibility for coverage is as follows:

  • Be employed full-time as a firefighter with Hillsborough County at the F.S 112.1816 enacted date of July 1, 2019 and forward.
  • The firefighter has not used tobacco products for at least the five preceding years. 
  • Have been employed by Hillsborough County for five continuous years. 
  • Have not been employed in any other position in the preceding five years which is proven to create a higher risk for cancer. 
  • If retired, have been retired less than 10 years at the F.S. 112.1816 enacted date of July 1, 2019 and forward. 

Is the program available for volunteer firefighters? No

If a five plus year program-eligible FF retires from Hillsborough County and is diagnosed with a covered cancer under the law, is he/she eligible for the $25,000 benefit?  The FF is covered under the law for up to 10 years after retirement from FT employment with Hillsborough County provided that the firefighter is not subsequently employed as a fire-fighter following that date.

How does a firefighter obtain additional information and/or submit a claim under the Program? To request the claim package or for more information about this program, contact Rebecca Buehrle, Benefits & Retirement Manager    Phone: (813) 276-2728     Fax: (813) 272-1160

What is included in a claim package? The claim package includes the following forms and/or documents:

  • Employee/Retiree Notice of Cancer Diagnosis and Claim for Benefits
  • Employee/Retiree Tobacco Free Affidavit
  • Out-of-Pocket Reimbursement Request
  • IRS W-9 (Retirees only)
  • Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Direct Deposit Authorization (Retirees only)

Note: employees that do not have direct deposit for their paychecks, yet will want the cancer benefit funds to be direct deposited will need to submit a direct deposit form, a W-9, and a voided check

What supporting documentation is required to be reimbursed for covered out-of-pocket expenses?  The following documents must be included with the completed Out-of-Pocket Reimbursement Request:

  • An Explanation of Benefits for each reimbursable expense
  • A printed and legible, itemized receipt of payment

Is the lump sum cash benefit a one-time benefit or for each new diagnosis of a covered cancer? The one-time cash benefit is allowed only for the initial diagnosis of one of the covered cancers (see enumerated cancers above).   This lump sum cash benefit is not provided or allowed for a subsequent new diagnosis, or reoccurrence of the same diagnosis that was formerly in remission.  The lump sum cash benefit is not owed more than once regardless of how many diagnoses of cancer or body parts affected.

When can I expect my $25,000 payment?  These payments are expedited and can be expected within two weeks upon confirmation of meeting the benefit eligibility requirements.

When can I expect payment for out-of-pocket cost? These payments follow the normal payment schedule and can take up to 30 days.