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Death at Work

Get the Facts About Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

If a loved one dies while performing duties required by their employer, then their surviving beneficiaries are often eligible for death benefits. The amount of these benefits will vary based on a variety of factors, but it is always best to work with an attorney to make sure you are getting the compensation you are owed.

You can do this by contacting a Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist by the State Bar of California at DLC Law at (626) 285-8815 for a free legal consultation to discover what your legal options are.

What to expect with California death benefits

In the state of California, if an employee dies as a result of a work-related accident or sickness, death benefits are paid to the person’s spouse, children, or other dependents. This includes appropriate funeral expenses, which are limited to $10,000.

How much are death benefits?

The amount a family will receive will depend on the total number of dependents and whether they were entirely or partially financially dependent on the deceased. If there is a single total dependent, they could receive a total of $250,000, while a single partial dependent could receive up to eight times the annual support they were receiving, not exceeding a total of $250,000.  Children or dependents may also qualify for payments until the youngest child reaches the age of 18.  Disabled, physically or mentally incapacitated dependents or children may also qualify for payments that go on indefinitely.  Call DLC Law at (626) 285-8815 to speak with an attorney.

How long do I have to claim death benefits?

You will not automatically receive death benefits – you must file for them. You will have one year (12 months) from the date of death to begin proceedings for death benefits. Your workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine what timeline to follow.

Not everyone is eligible to file for death benefits

Being a child, spouse or relative of the deceased is not enough in and of itself to file for death benefits. Dependency needs to be proven.  These are some of the people who typically qualify for death benefits.

  • Child of the deceased (this includes adopted and/or stepchildren)
  • Spouse of the deceased
  • Grandchild who is financially dependent on the deceased
  • Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and in-laws who were dependent on the victim

Even if a person falls into one of the categories above, they might not be eligible for benefits. These relationships qualify without the need for further evidence of financial dependence:

  • Children under the age of 18
  • Adult children who are physically or mentally incapacitated and therefore unable to remain gainfully employed
  • Surviving spouses who earned $30,000 or less in the year before the death of their spouse

The other potentially qualifying family members, including spouses with incomes of more than $30,000, will be required to show evidence that they were entirely or partially dependent on the deceased. One example is an elderly stepmother who lived with their stepdaughter and counted on them for living expenses. They would like quality for death benefits.

Call a workers’ compensation attorney to learn what your options are

If you have lost a loved one and believe that you might be eligible for death benefits, we invite you to contact DLC Law at (626) 285-8815 today to request a consultation with an experienced attorney.

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