Workers' Compensation And Death Benefits

Most people associate workers' compensation with ensuring that injured workers have their medical bills and a portion of their lost wages paid, but there are benefits of workers' comp that can go beyond that type of compensation. If your loved one has died as a result of an on-the-job injury or illness, you and certain family members may qualify for a lifetime of benefits. Read on to learn more about workers' comp death benefits, who can qualify and what you may be eligible to receive.

How You May Qualify

To be eligible, the death of your loved one must have occurred as a result of the job. It is not necessary for the death to actually occur at work, but it must be proven that the death occurred because of work. It should be noted that deaths that occur while using company-provided transportation (work trucks, etc), while traveling for company business or training or during company-sponsored recreational activities (softball games, company picnics, Christmas parties) all qualify as work-related deaths. Moreover, if a preexisting condition was worsened by work, the death that occurred as a result is also covered.

Who Can Qualify?

Please note that the rules vary from state to state, since all workers' compensation practices are governed by the state where the business is registered. Generally, any family members who are financially dependent on the deceased will qualify for workers' comp death benefits. This includes:

  • Spouses (some states take the surviving spouse's income into consideration when determining benefit amounts).

  • Children age 18 and under.

  • Children age 18-25 and enrolled in secondary education (college).

  • Children age 18 and older who are physically and/or developmentally disabled.

What You May Be Eligible to Receive

Again, the details and benefit amounts will vary by state, but generally the eligible family members of the deceased can expect about two-thirds of the former salary. Additionally:

*In some states burial benefits are available.

*All remaining medical expenses will be paid.

*In some states, the total payout amount is divided between all dependents.

*The total payout is limited by a certain dollar amount in some states.

*The benefits are paid either monthly, weekly or lump sum.

*A lifetime of benefits are usually available for spouses, unless they re-marry.

*Children receive benefits through age 18, until they finish college or reach the age of 25.

*An eligible child who is disabled will receive a lifetime of benefits.

Losing a loved one in a work-related incident is devastating enough, but eventually the loss of income will cause further distress. Monetary help is available if you qualify, so contact a workers compensation attorney for assistance in getting the benefits that you and your family members need and deserve.