If you have a loved one who recently died because of an injury or illness that was caused directly by their work, it's possible that you will be eligible to make a worker death claim and obtain death benefits.
While workers’ compensation works slightly differently with each state, there are some general guidelines that you can follow when looking into the possibility of filing a worker death claim.
Eligibility for Death Benefits with Workers' Compensation
The compensation that’s provided with a worker death claim is designed to ensure that the deceased individual’s family members receive something for the loss of financial support from this individual. When you’re trying to determine if you’re eligible for these benefits, it’s important to understand that precise eligibility requirements will vary from state to state. However, these benefits are typically designed to be provided to people who were related to the deceased individual by marriage or blood. This compensation is commonly provided to children and spouses as well as other close relatives.
The family members who apply for these benefits by filling out a worker death claim will need to have lived with the deceased individual or depended on them for some of their living expenses. Children who are under the age of 18 are almost always considered to be dependents. The same is true for older children who have been diagnosed with mental or physical disabilities. Many states automatically count a spouse as a dependent even if the spouse earned more than the deceased individual. For any family members outside of children and spouses who wish to file a claim, certain circumstances will need to apply for a worker death claim to be accepted.
Potential Compensation Amount
Death benefits are typically paid in regular installments, which are determined based on a smaller percentage of what the deceased individual made before their death. This percentage varies from state to state. In many cases, the weekly compensation will amount to around 60-70 percent of what the deceased individual used to make each week. There are some states that provide compensation as a lump sum that covers the wages the deceased person would have made for a couple of years.
When to File a Claim
When you’re thinking about filing a worker death claim, keep in mind that there are typically very strict time limits for when you can do so. These time limits usually range from 1-2 years following the death. Because these time limits differ with each state, it’s recommended that you try to file the claim as soon as possible after the death has occurred.
Length of Death Benefits
In the event that the death benefits are provided in installments, a surviving spouse may receive these payments until their death or a remarriage. For children, the death benefits that they receive from a worker death claim will usually last until the child turns 18. Other states cut off benefits after a maximum amount has been reached.