There was an issue similar to yours in the season of 2000. A prison crew inmate was KIA and he left behind a 10 yr old girl I believe. The dept of corrections is not required to hold insurance on the inmates that fight fire. So to make a long story short, the girl was left with nothing.
Now being in the private sector myself, I know what you mean with the whole segregation and being treated differently. As far as the benefits that should be owed, I wouldnt bank on anything from the government. I would check into the company he worked for. All companies are required to have some sort of accidental death coverage. If they didnt, I would get a lawyer.
Hope it helped and sorry to hear about the loss.