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Death Benefits and Workers’ Compensation Mississippi

Losing a loved one is always incredibly painful, especially if it’s an unexpected loss. If your loved one has passed away because of a workplace injury, we’re incredibly sorry for your loss, and we want you to know that you may be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits.

Workers’ compensation is traditionally reserved for employees who were injured on the job so that they can receive money for recovery or lost wages, but if your family member lost their life, you can receive their workers’ compensation to pay for funeral arrangements and other expenses. No amount of money can make up for the death of a loved one, but death benefits can help you remain financially secure as your family grieves and heals.

Here at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC, we assist individuals and families in receiving the workers’ compensation death benefits they deserve. In addition to providing expert legal guidance for grieving families, we also want to keep you informed about the specific workers’ compensation death benefits available in Mississippi.

Death Benefits and Workers’ Compensation in Mississippi

In 2019, 53 Mississippians lost their lives due to a workplace injury. The deaths were a result of transportation incidents, violence by another person or animal, slips and falls, and contact with objects or equipment.

Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits in Mississippi

In Mississippi, the percentage of the deceased’s wages that goes toward death benefits differs greatly from Louisiana:

  • Surviving spouses qualify for 35%
  • Each dependent child along with the surviving spouse receives an additional 10%
  • If there’s no surviving spouse, each dependent child receives 25%
  • Dependent parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members can receive 15%

One important factor determining the percentage of the deceased’s wages that you’ll receive is that death benefits cannot surpass 66.67% of 450 weeks of their wages at the time of their death. This means that if a surviving spouse has four dependent children, they can’t go over 66.67% of the deceased’s wages over 450 weeks.

Children can continue receiving benefits up to the age of 23 if they’re full-time students. Children who are over the age of 18 and have a physical and/or mental disability can also receive death benefits if they’re unable to earn a living wage because of their condition.

If you’re a family member other than a spouse or minor child, you need to be able to prove that you were financially dependent on the deceased.

In addition to earning death benefits from the weekly wages of the deceased, surviving members can receive a funeral benefit of $5,000. Surviving spouses also receive an additional $1,000.

Can You Lose Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits in Mississippi?

In Mississippi, those financially dependent on the deceased only receive benefits for a maximum of 450 weeks. Additionally, a surviving spouse loses their benefits if they remarry. Dependent children can continue receiving 15% of their deceased parent’s weekly wages even if the surviving spouse remarries.

Wholly Dependent Claimants vs Partially Dependent Claimants in Mississippi

With workers’ compensation death benefits, recipients are divided into two groups: “wholly dependent” and “partially dependent.” Your compensation will depend on which of these groups you qualify for.

Someone who is labeled wholly dependent will receive payment based on a percentage of the wages that the deceased earned when they passed away. A partially dependent claimant receives compensation based on the percentage of the departed’s wages that went towards supporting the surviving dependent in the year before the worker’s death.

Wholly dependent claimants receive payment before partially dependent claimants. In addition to the separate categories of wholly and partially dependent claimants, workers’ compensation death benefits are also prioritized based on the relationship with the deceased.

If there are competing claims to receive death benefits, the spouse and dependent children are the first to receive benefits. If the deceased didn’t have a spouse or dependent children, the compensation is prioritized in the order of parents, siblings, and other dependents. There is no distinguishing factor between blood relatives and legal relatives, meaning that if you’re an adopted child of the deceased, you have the same claim as a biological child.

Determining the Amount Wholly Dependent and Partially Dependent Claimants Receive

Wholly Dependent Claimants

Wholly dependent claimants receive the total amount of the percentage of wages as discussed in the previous sections, but you need to prove that you were dependent on the deceased. You can prove whole or partial dependency by showing that the deceased made contributions supporting you. Once you prove that you were dependent on the deceased through documentation, financial records, or another method, you’ll then be classified as either wholly or partially dependent.

If you prove that the deceased was your primary financial support, you can be labeled wholly dependent. It doesn’t matter the percentage of the deceased’s income that went towards financially supporting you. For example, they could have only been using 15% of their wages to financially support you, but that doesn’t change the fact that you were wholly dependent on them. Additionally, it’s important to note that the deceased didn’t have to be your only financial support to be eligible for being wholly dependent. You could have received a small amount of support from other sources.

Partially Dependent Claimants

A partially dependent claimant is a person who received only partial financial support from the deceased at the time of their death. If you prove that you were partially dependent on the deceased and their death benefits didn’t all go to a wholly dependent claimant, you’ll still receive the same amount of benefits as a wholly dependent person in the same category.

Hire Experienced Death Benefit Lawyers in Mississippi

Receiving the workers’ compensation death benefits you deserve can be difficult. The laws that regulate who receives what can be incredibly complicated, and we know that you don’t want to deal with that while you grieve. If you need help receiving death benefits, contact Lunsford, Baskin, and Priebe. Our team will work tirelessly to get the compensation owed to you during this painful time. We’ll guide you through the process so that you don’t have to worry about your financial situation as you mourn your loss.

For a free consultation with experienced Mississippi death benefits lawyers, contact Lunsford, Baskin, and Priebe, PLLC. For assistance call our Jackson office at 601-203-4552. We’re only a call away from getting you the workers’ compensation death benefits you deserve!

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