If a worker is injured on the job, the employer's workers' compensation steps in and ensures that the worker has some paid time off to recuperate and that their medical bills are paid. Most people don't realize, however, that this same form of insurance can benefit members of a deceased's workers family as well. Only certain family members can get benefits, so read on to learn who gets them and how they work.
Qualified Family Members
The basic rule of thumb for qualification is to ask if that family member was financially dependent on the deceased worker. If so, it is likely they will receive some form of workers' compensation death benefits. Since workers' comp is run by each state individually, who qualifies can vary somewhat, but usually the following people can get these benefits:
Spouse—The issue of how financially dependent the spouse may have been on the deceased spouse could come into question. In some cases, the salary of the surviving spouse is taken into consideration when determining benefits.
Children—Generally, all children under the age of 18 are eligible for benefits, and in some locations children aged 18-25 can be eligible if they are enrolled in college. If the child is disabled in any manner, there is no age limit for collecting benefits.
Workers' Comp Coverage
Generally, if the deceased worker would have qualified for regular workers' comp benefits, they also will qualify for death benefits. The death must have occurred as a result of work or be work-related. It is not necessary for the death to actually occur at work, but the injury, illness or medical condition must have been caused by work or worsened by work conditions.
Benefits to Expect
The amount of money paid to family members align closely with the amount paid to workers' who are recuperating at home, and that is usually a portion of their deceased family member's salary. The actual amount varies, and they are often paid on a weekly basis, but in some cases a lump sum may be paid to qualifying family members. The total amounts available are usually divided between all family members and there are likely caps on the total amounts paid. In addition to the salary replacement benefit, they can also expect the payment of any residual medical bills still left unpaid and burial expenses.
These benefits will continue for the life of the spouse, unless they remarry. They continue for children until they are 18 or 25 years old, and for the lifetime of any disabled children. To learn more about death benefits for deceased workers, talk to a workers' comp resource like Mordhorst Law.