AZ Firefighter Widow Denied Benefits

AZ Firefighter Widow Denied Benefits

Andrew Ashcraft was one of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters who perished in Arizona fighting wildfires, but the city of Prescott will not pay his wife Juliann his lifetime benefits because they claim he was a seasonal worker.

Ashcraft said he worked 40 hours a week all year and should receive full benefits. The city said only six of the 19 were full time and he was one of 13 firefighters who were considered seasonal. From The Daily Mail:

‘I said to them, “My husband was a full-time employee, he went to work full-time for you,”‘ she said, ‘and their response to me was, “Perhaps there was a communication issue in your marriage.”‘

CBS News has seen paperwork showing Mr Ashcraft did infact earn a full-time salary as a firefighter for the city of Prescott. He was the only one of the 13 Hotshots denied full benefits who worked a 40 hour week through out the year.

Ashcraft has four children, the youngest of whom is 18 months, and is only able to pay the bills because of generous donations. The families will receive worker’s compensation and federal payment of $328,000.

Lightning started the fire in Yarnell, AZ and destroyed 200 homes. The Hotshots are often the heroes standing between the fire and citizens.