Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits: Who Gets What For How Long?
In Louisiana, those related to deceased employees have the right to recover workers’ compensation death benefits. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that covers injured and ill employees’ medical bills and lost wages. When someone loses their life on the job, the victim’s family members can recover compensation.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to a workplace injury or illness, you may wonder if you qualify for death benefits. Additionally, you may have questions regarding how long you can receive these benefits. In this blog, we discuss how to qualify for workers’ compensation death benefits, what beneficiaries receive, and how long beneficiaries receive death benefits.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits In Louisiana
In general, only close family members of the deceased can receive workers’ compensation death benefits, but those who lived with the victim or relied on them financially may also be able to recover benefits.
Some of the factors that indicate that you may qualify for workers’ compensation death benefits include:
- If you were their spouse
- If you were their child and you’re under the age of 18
- If you were their child and you’re under the age of 23 and are a full-time student
- If you were their child and you have a disability that impacts your ability to work
- If you can prove that you were financially dependent on the victim
- If you were related and relied on the victim for financial support
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits Beneficiaries
The amount that beneficiaries receive in workers’ compensation death benefits depends on their relationship with the deceased. Recipients receive a percentage of the decedent’s wages. One critical note is that the total amount of benefits that the decedent’s family and dependents receive cannot surpass 65% of their weekly wages. For example, if the surviving spouse and two dependent children receive 65% of the victim’s weekly wages, other family members will not be able to recover death benefits because 65% of the victim’s wages are already spoken for.
The percentage that family members and other recipients receive is as follows:
- Surviving spouse: The decedent’s spouse can receive 32.5% of the victim’s weekly wages.
- Surviving spouse and one dependent child: The decedent’s spouse along with one dependent child can receive 46.25%.
- Surviving spouse and two or more dependent children: The victim’s spouse and two or more dependent children can receive 65%, which is the maximum workers’ compensation death benefits.
- One dependent child: The victim’s dependent child can receive up to 32.5% of their weekly wages.
- Two dependent children: If the victim had two dependent children, they may qualify for 46.25% of their weekly wages.
- Three or more dependent children: Three or more dependent children can receive a maximum of 65% of the victim’s weekly wages.
- Parents: If the victim didn’t have a surviving spouse or dependent children, dependent parents may qualify. A single parent can receive 32.5% and two parents can receive 65%.
- Siblings: If the victim didn’t have a surviving spouse, dependent children, or dependent parents, dependent siblings may qualify. A single sibling can receive 32.5% and any additional sibling increases the amount by 11% until recipients receive the maximum 65%.
- Other dependents: If the victim had a dependent outside of their immediate family, the dependent can receive 32.5%. Any additional dependent will increase the amount by 11% until recipients exhaust the maximum 65%.
In addition to the wage percentages beneficiaries can receive, the victim’s family can receive an $8,500 benefit for funeral and burial costs.
If the deceased didn’t have any dependents, certain parties may be eligible to receive a lump sum. Non-dependent children, including adopted children, can receive a lump sum of $75,000, and if the victim had multiple children, they divide the $75,000. If the victim didn’t have dependents or children, their parents may receive $75,000 each.
How Long Do Beneficiaries Receive Benefits?
The amount of time in which beneficiaries will receive workers’ compensation death benefits depends on their relationship with the deceased. For example, if you receive death benefits as a surviving spouse, your death benefits will conclude when remarrying, but you’ll also receive a lump sum equaling two years of benefits. Dependent children receive benefits until they’re 18 or 23 if they’re full-time students. Dependent children who have a mental or physical disability that prevents them from earning a livable wage can continue receiving benefits into the future.
Other dependents may continue receiving benefits as long as their dependency continues or until they die.
Contact a Louisiana Death Benefits Attorney
If you have any questions regarding your receipt of workers’ compensation death benefits or if you’re struggling to receive the benefits you deserve, contact a Louisiana workers’ compensation attorney. Although receiving death benefits should be a smooth process, workers’ compensation insurance companies often look for ways to underpay or deny benefits, so you may need legal representation to help you with your claim.
For workers’ compensation attorneys you can count on, contact Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC. Our lawyers have years of experience helping Louisiana residents with workers’ compensation and workers’ compensation death benefits. Call our New Orleans office at 504-788-2994 or click here to schedule a free, no-risk case evaluation.