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AGO 1953 No. 183 - December 21, 1953
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

VOLUNTEER FIREMEN ‑- PENSIONS TO SURVIVING DEPENDENTS ‑- EXTENT OF LIMITATION THEREON BY SECOND PROVISO, RCW 41.24.160

Monthly pension to surviving dependents of volunteer firemen under RCW 41.24.160 can be paid from fund established by RCW 41.24.030 only to extent necessary to maintain $100 monthly income in conjunction with any benefits such dependents may receive under Federal old-age and survivors insurance program (OASI).

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                                                               December 21, 1953

Honorable Philip Sheridan
Prosecuting Attorney
Snohomish County
Court House
Everett, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 183

Attention:  !ttMr. C. P. Brownlee,

            Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Sir:

            By letter as previously acknowledged you have requested the opinion of this office upon a question arising under the second proviso of RCW 41.24.160, which limits in certain cases the pension allowable to a former dependent of a deceased volunteer fireman, as follows:

            "What act is referred to by the words 'federal old-age retirement act?'"

            It is our opinion that the words quoted from the second proviso of RCW 41.24.160 refer to Title II of the Federal Social Security Act, Title 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 401et seq., providing for old-age and survivors insurance benefits.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 41.24.160, as derived from § 2, chapter 103, Laws of 1951, was amended by § 2, chapter 253, Laws of 1953.  The pension allowable to former dependents of a deceased volunteer fireman was increased from $75 per month to $100 per month, and the following proviso was added to the section:

            "Provided further, That the pension herein provided shall be reduced by such amounts, during such period, as any of the beneficiaries herein named shall be eligible to receive under the provisions of the federal old-age retirement act."

            The onlygeneral "old-age retirement act" on the federal statute books, so far as we know, is contained in Title II of the federal Social Security Act.  The provisions are set out in Title 42, U.S.C.A., beginning with § 402, which is headed as follows:

            "Old-age and survivors insurance benefit payments ‑ Old-age insurance benefits."

            This program is very commonly referred to as "OASI."  See RCW 41.48.020 (5) as amended by § 1, chapter 62, Laws of 1953; and RCW 41.48.060 (which also mentions "title II of the social security act").  See also RCW chapter 74.40.  Since the regular occupations of volunteer firemen may be of any kind, OASI would doubtless be the federal program applicable to the great majority of them.  The provisions of OASI and RCW 41.24.160 assist the same classes of dependents, and payments to them under the two programs would overlap in many cases except for the second proviso of RCW 41.24.160, quoted above.

            The Washington legislature has determined, by the second proviso, that payments shall be made from the fund set up by RCW 41.24.030 only insofar as necessary to maintain the $100 monthly income to the beneficiary, taking into account any payments which may be made to the beneficiary under OASI.

            The language employed in the second proviso is perhaps not the most common manner of reference to OASI, but we think that such is the reference clearly intended.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            We hope the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


A. J. HUTTON, JR.
Assistant Attorney General

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