Workers’ Compensation Survivor & Death Benefits: Overview of How It Works, Who is Eligible, and When it Ends

Having a family member die in a fatal workplace accident can be a harrowing experience for anyone. In addition to grieving for the loss, family members also have to cope to financial difficulties for the loss. In such circumstances, a worker’s compensation survivor and death benefits proves invaluable to ease the financial hardships.

In this post, we will take a close look at the survivor and death benefit laws. You should also consider contacting a workers’ compensation attorney in Los Angeles for professional help and advice regarding the matter.

Workers’ Compensation Survivor and Death Benefits

The workers’ compensation survivor and death benefits are payable to the dependents of an employee who has died while on the job and may be eligible for a lump sum payment. The death benefits offered to the dependents can include:

  • Lost earnings – The dependents are paid a weekly amount to compensate for the loss of earnings of the deceased worker. The benefits are calculated based on different factors such as the number of dependents, worker’s occupation, and extent of dependency.
  • Funeral expenses – The dependents will be paid expenses for arranging the funeral of the deceased person, up to a certain limit. For anything above that limit, the dependents will have to cover the costs, in which case they may want to check to see how that’s possible on a small budget.

Who is Eligible for Survivor & Death Benefits?

All dependents of the deceased worker are eligible for receiving worker’s compensation survivor and death benefits. Both total and partial dependents are eligible to receive compensation. Total dependents are those who completely relied on the deceased worker for financial support, while partial dependents are those who partially relied on the financial support.

The eligibility criteria for dependents include the following:

  • Children below the age of 18
  • Physically or mentally handicapped children of any age
  • A spouse who earned less than $30,000 about 12 months prior to the death of a worker.

Examples of beneficiaries who may qualify for the survivor and death benefits include the following:

  • Wife
  • Husband
  • Child
  • Grandparents
  • Father and Mother
  • Father and Mother in law
  • Uncle and Aunt
  • Brother and Sister
  • Nephew and Niece

The above family members of the deceased worker can claim workers’ compensation survivor and death benefits. Other dependents can qualify for the death benefit depending on different circumstances, either partially or fully.

When Do Workers Compensation Survivor and Death Benefits Expire?

Dependents usually receive death benefits up to a certain period which is determined by the court after evaluating different factors. Minors generally continue to receive the death benefit until they reach the age of 18. Handicapped individuals, however, may continue to receive payments throughout their life.
If the employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, a family member can file a personal injury case if it’s believed that the death occurred due to negligent actions of the employer.