Workers compensation provides a convenient way for workers hurt on the job to be compensated while they recover. In most cases, a hurt worker can expect to have a portion of their usual salary be paid while they stay home from work, and to have all of their medical expenses taken care of. This valuable benefit is provided by the employer, at no cost to the worker. When the worst happens, however, and that worker dies, workers comp is also available to help. In the case of a death, it is the family of the deceased that may be entitled to benefits. To learn more about what loved ones can expect from this form of insurance, read on.
Not all family members will qualify for benefits. Workers' comp is primarily a financial form of compensation, so no matter how close you may have been to the deceased worker the qualification for money paid is based on how much financial help you derived from that worker. Keeping in mind that workers' compensation insurance is a state based program and that the exact rules will vary from state to state, in general the following relatives of the deceased my qualify for financial benefits from the the death of worker:
- Current spouse.
- Children under the age of 19.
- Children under the age of 26 that are attending a secondary school (college).
- Children of any age that are disabled.
You will note that domestic partners, people living in the home and dependent on the financial assistance of the deceased worker (such as an adult child living in the basement), minor children of previous relationships and previous spouses who may have been receiving spousal support are not included in the list. Some of these relationships may qualify depending on the state rules. It should also be noted that any affected person may be able to file a personal injury suit against the employer directly if negligence is suspected.
What to Expect
In most cases, the benefit amount is based on the salary of the deceased worker, which is usually a percentage amount. For example, qualifying family members may expect to receive two-thirds of the deceased worker's pay. This is paid either in a lump sum or by other regular payments. You can also expect burial benefits and full payment of medical bills left behind.
Dealing with a loved one's death can be challenging, and money won't make the pain of that loss go away. It will, however, help prevent further financial hardship. Speak to a workers' comp attorney for more information.