Workers' compensation benefits are not just limited to employees. If your loved one died from an injury suffered in the workplace, you can possibly receive death benefits. Before applying for death benefits, here is what you need to know.
What Death Benefits Are Available?
Death benefits are limited to financial support. Whereas a person injured on the job would receive weekly payments from workers comp, you would receive a lump sum amount. The amount that you can receive is based on what your loved one was earning at the time of his or her incident. The percentage of the earnings you can receive is determined by the state in which you live.
In some states, the amount of benefits available is increased if there are more than one dependent, such as a spouse and children. However, other states split the amount that is awarded between the surviving dependents.
Who Is Eligible to Receive Benefits?
In order to receive death benefits, you must be a qualifying dependent. Qualifying dependents usually are considered the spouse and any dependent children of the deceased. However, others might qualify for benefits. A person who was reliant on the deceased to provide financial support, such as a parent or grandchild, could also be considered a qualifying dependent.
In addition to being a qualifying dependent, you also must show that your loved one died as the result of a workplace injury or occupation-related disease. For instance, if your spouse suffered from and died of mesothelioma, you could argue that his or her exposure to asbestos at work was the cause of the disease.
What If Your Claim Is Denied?
If you are notified that your benefits claim is denied, review the denial letter to determine why. You have the option of filing an appeal. By understanding the reason for the denial, you can shape your appeals argument. For instance, if the insurance company denied the claim because it was unable to establish that you are a qualifying dependent, you need to provide evidence of your relationship to the deceased. If you are the spouse of the deceased, a marriage license and witness statements affirming your relationship could be used.
Consult with an attorney experienced in filing workers' compensation to learn your state's specific rules regarding death benefits for survivors. The attorney can help you file the claim and appeal a denial, if necessary. Go here for additional reading on the subject.