Member Portal
LOSAP In New York State
Important Note:

The majority of the information below is only applicable to New York State volunteer fire department LOSAPs. If you are seeking information from a state other than New York be aware that the laws, rules, and regulations discussed below may not be relevant. For more information feel free to contact our team via phone or email.

What does LOSAP stand for?

Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP). The acronym was established with the passage of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 on August 20, 1996. This bill amended §457(e)(11) of the Internal Revenue Code with language that excluded “any plan paying solely length of service awards to bona fide volunteers…” The passage of this bill relieved several complicated conflicts between the New York State law and the Internal Revenue Code and helped institute the term LOSAP.

What IS a LOSAP?

To put it simply, a LOSAP is a plan that provides payment to an individual who performs certain qualified services. Those qualified services include firefighting and fire prevention services, emergency medical services, and ambulance services. Most LOSAPs are designed like simple retirement plans, where the benefits become payable at a certain age, but a LOSAP could also be designed to pay benefits after a certain length of time, regardless of age.

The two types of LOSAP
available in NY State:
Defined Contribution (DC) – The DC plan operates like an IRA or a 401(k), where every volunteer has an account balance that is paid out at a certain age. The account balance is accumulated based on contributions made by the sponsor (Town, Village, City, or Fire District) on behalf of the volunteer. The maximum annual contribution that can be made into an account is currently $1,200.
Defined Benefit (DB) - The DB plan operates like a traditional pension plan, such as the NY State and Local Retirement System. Under the DB plan, a volunteer earns a lifetime monthly benefit based on the number of years of service credit earned. The maximum monthly benefit that can be earned per year of service credit is $30.
Applicable NY State Laws

The parameters of LOSAP in New York are found in the General Municipal Law. There are four Articles in the General Municipal Law that address LOSAP:

  1. Article 11-A – Both DB and DC LOSAP for members of volunteer fire departments.
  2. Article 11-AA – DC LOSAPs for members of independent volunteer ambulance squads.
  3. Article 11-AAA – DB LOSAPs for members of independent volunteer ambulance squads.
  4. Article 11-AAAA – Supplemental LOSAPs for members of both volunteer fire departments and ambulance squads.

Programs adopted in accordance with Article 11-AA and Article 11-AAA are run by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). The OSC then contracts with firms to provide the necessary services. Since Firefly is not one of those firms, those programs will not be addressed. However, you can still contact our team regarding this matter and we’ll direct you to someone who can help.

There have been no programs adopted in accordance with Article 11-AAAA. The Firefly team is working diligently to change that! Contact us for more details about how you can adopt a Supplemental LOSAP for your fire department.

Who can sponsor a LOSAP in NY State?

A LOSAP sponsor is the agency that adopts and is responsible for the administration of the program. In New York State a “sponsor” or “sponsoring agency” refers to a political subdivision such as the following:

Fire District on behalf of the volunteer fire company/department serving the Fire District Village on behalf of the village-operated volunteer fire department City on behalf of the city-operated volunteer fire department Town on behalf of a fire department/company that contracts with the town to provide fire protection services for a fire protection district in the town.

*Special Situation:
There is a special situation here in NY where an independent fire company (a fire company not under the control of a fire district, village or city) may contract with more than one municipality. In this case, all of the municipalities that contract to receive fire protection services with that fire company must join together to co-sponsor the LOSAP.

What steps must you take to sponsor a LOSAP?

The political subdivision (sponsor) must first adopt a resolution establishing a program, subject to additional approval of the voting residents of that political subdivision in a mandatory public referendum.

Who is eligible to participate in the LOSAP?

Generally, only volunteer firefighters who have a duty to respond to calls/emergencies can participate in a LOSAP in New York State. Ladies auxiliary members, social-only members, or life-only members are not usually eligible to participate. Furthermore, a sponsor and fire department should consider carefully if “Class D” or “Administrative Only” members should be eligible to participate.

How does a volunteer earn a LOSAP benefit?

A volunteer must earn 50 points in a calendar year under the point system. Each sponsor must adopt a point system based on the parameters in Article 11-A. A sponsor cannot change the 50-point requirement, nor can a volunteer earn a larger benefit for earning more than 50 points.