Buffalo Grove firefighter's widow to receive hearing on insurance claims

The widow of a Buffalo Grove firefighter who died of cancer more than two years ago will receive a hearing on her claim for health insurance benefits from the village.

The village board Monday voted to convene the hearing and directed the village attorney to present hearing officer candidates at their Sept. 21 meeting.

Firefighter Kevin Hauber, 51, died of colon cancer in January 2018, after a nearly 24-year career with the Buffalo Grove Fire Department. The village's fire pension board later determined that his cancer was caused by his work as a firefighter, making his survivors eligible for full line-of-duty benefits.

After the village disputed the finding, a Lake County judge ruled that Hauber's widow, Kimberly Hauber, was eligible to receive about $101,549 a year in line-of-duty pension benefits. The village lost its appeal and decided not to ask the Illinois Supreme Court to consider the case.

Now Kimberly Hauber is asking the village pay health insurance benefits for her family also, arguing they are entitled under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act. The act provides health care benefits at the municipality's expense to survivors of police officers and firefighters who die responding to an emergency.

In recommending the hearing, Village Manager Dane Bragg said there is insufficient evidence to establish that Hauber's cancer resulted from a response to an emergency. If there is evidence, Kimberly Hauber should have the opportunity to provide it at the hearing, he said.

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