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Workers’ compensation survivor benefits

When a worker suffers a fatal injury or illness at work, the stress from the loss of that income can add to the weight of the emotional pain the family experiences.

Fortunately, the system that would have paid for the medical expenses if the worker had survived — workers’ compensation — may also provide assistance for the surviving family members.

Who is eligible?

According to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, weekly cash benefits are available for the worker’s spouse and minor children, as well as any other legal dependents. If the worker did not have a spouse or legal dependents, the worker’s parents or his or her estate may receive a one-time payment.

How much are the payments?

To figure the amount of the weekly payment, the system finds the average weekly wage based on the 52 weeks preceding the accident. The check will be two-thirds of that average weekly wage. No matter how many dependents there are, the total cannot exceed the amount of New York’s maximum weekly benefit for the date of the accident. While the state changes this amount annually, for the family receiving benefits, it does not change.

If the parents or estate are the ones receiving the death benefit, they may receive a payment of $50,000.

What else do workers’ compensation survivor benefits cover?

Workers’ compensation also covers the funeral or memorial costs after a work-related death. The amount varies depending on the county.

The Workers’ Compensation Board notes that the dependents seeking reimbursement for funeral expenses must file the death claim within two years of the death. These benefits can be a safety net for the grieving family.

 

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