Hero Firefighter's Widow Denied Health Benefits Because He Was Considered Part-Time

Juliann Ashcraft’s twenty-nine-year-old husband Andrew was one of 19 firefighters killed more than a month ago while attempting to control a massive blaze -- the deadliest wildfire in 80 years -- in Yarnell, AZ. 

“These men were some of the strongest, most disciplined, tenacious, physically fit men in the world. An elite unit in every sense of that phrase,” Vice President Joe Biden said at a memorial service June. But Ashcraft is not receiving salary and health benefits now that her husband, a hero, is gone. City officials say Ashcraft's husband was a part-time, seasonal employee, and that she is therefore ineligible to recieve benefist in the wake of his death. She and her four young children will not receive lifetime benefits until the full-time members already have.

“As shocked as I was that my husband went to work and never came home, I’m equally shocked in how the city has treated our family since then,” Ashcraft, who says her husband was working 40 hours a week when he died, told CBS News

“I said to them, ‘My husband was a full-time employee. He went to work full-time for you,’” Ashcraft told CBS.

 “Perhaps there was a communication issue in your marriage," she says city officials responded. But CBS has obtained documents showing he made a full-time salary.

Watch it on CBS:

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.