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Does workers' compensation provide death benefits?


Our New York readers know that any job brings with it the possibility of an accident. Many of these accidents will require some time off of work for the employee for recovery and treatment, and in these cases workers' compensation benefits can help support the injured worker financially.

Some workers' injuries, however, are more serious, and sometimes workers suffer fatal injuries while on the job. In such tragic cases, our readers may wonder what support exists for surviving family members. Although the death resulted from an on-the-job injury, is anything available through workers' compensation to help? Does workers' compensation provide anything in terms of death benefits?

If the injury was something that would have been eligible for compensation under workers' compensation, the answer is "yes." A weekly cash benefit is available for the worker's surviving spouse, any minor children or other legal dependents, if the worker had no spouse or minor children. The amount the family members receive will be two-thirds of the worker's average weekly earnings during the year prior to the fatal accident. It is not tied to the number of dependents.

If the deceased worker has no family eligible to collect this benefit, a lump sum of $50,000 may be paid to the worker's estate. Workers' compensation may also pay to cover the costs associated with a funeral. These costs are capped at $5,000 in Oneida County. Workers' compensation is a valuable protection for employees throughout New York. Anyone who has suffered a workplace injury may want to get more information about the process of filing a claim.

Source: New York State Workers' Compensation Board, "Death Benefits," accessed on Sept. 4, 2015

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