An employee who is hurt in a workplace accident may receive workers’ compensation benefits to offset the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related expenses. But what happens if the employee is fatally injured in the incident, or dies within 300 weeks after the incident from associated injuries? In that case, workers’ compensation benefits may go to his or her surviving dependents.
The process of determining who is eligible to receive death benefits and how much can be extremely complex in some cases. That is why many people prefer to work with workers’ compensation lawyers to help navigate the process and expectations, as well as to ensure they get the full amount of benefits to which they are entitled.
Below are a few answers to the most frequently asked questions in terms of death benefits related to workers’ compensation. Please note that while the following is true in most circumstances, every case is unique and exceptions do apply.
Who is eligible for death benefits in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania is fairly clear on who can receive death benefits when someone close to them dies because of work-related injuries. These include:
- Spouses (until they remarry, at which time they are eligible to receive one final lump sum equal to 104 weeks’ worth of the workers’ compensation death benefits they received)
- Children under the age of 18
- Children of any age with documented, diagnosed special needs
- Children between 18 and 23 years old who are full-time school students
- Parents of the victim who were relying on the victim’s wages as support (partially or fully)
- Siblings of the victim under 18 years old
- Siblings of the victim between 18 and 23 years old who are full-time school students
- Siblings of the victim who were relying on the victim’s wages as support (partially or fully)
What is the maximum death benefit someone can receive?
Like other states, Pennsylvania places a cap on the amount of compensation that can be collected. In 2019, the maximum amount is $1,025 every week, or a little more than $53,000 annually.
However, death benefits are determined based on a percentage of the deceased worker’s wages. The percentage each type of benefit recipient can expect to receive varies widely and should be discussed in detail with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer.
How long can someone receive death benefits?
Death benefits will continue until recipients no longer qualify to receive the benefits. For instance, a child recipient will stop receiving benefits after they turn 18 unless they are still in school. Similarly, a surviving spouse gives up death benefits (beyond the 104-week lump sum) upon remarriage.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Answer Clients’ Death Benefit Questions
At Freedman & Lorry, P.C., our workers’ compensation lawyers serving Philadelphia fight hard to ensure that surviving dependents and spouses of those who have died in a work-related accident are properly compensated. Please call 888-999-1962 today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about benefit options. You can also contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we assist clients throughout the surrounding areas of Bucks County and Delaware County, Pennsylvania.