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How does workers’ compensation help when someone dies?

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2022 | WC - Benefits |

Most employees in Minnesota are at least vaguely aware that workers’ compensation will take care of them if they get hurt at work. Employers typically have to post information about their coverage in an area frequented by their staff members so the workers know about their rights.

Unfortunately, the worker who saw that signage every day may not be the one who needs to file the claim. In a tiny minority of workers’ compensation claims in Minnesota, the work-related medical issue results in a fatality.

Surviving family members who lost a loved one because of a work-acquired illness or injury on the job can ask for death and dependency benefits from workers’ compensation. What will the state cover for surviving family members?

Medical and funeral expenses

Workers’ compensation will cover the care related to a job-acquired medical condition even if the worker succumbs to that injury or illness. Families will benefit from 100% coverage instead of needing to pay for some of the treatment out of pocket as they would with most standard health insurance policies. Additionally, family members can count on Minnesota workers’ compensation to cover up to $15,000 of funeral or burial expenses.

The loss of financial support

State law typically requires that the workers’ compensation insurance company providing coverage for the employer make a one-time payment of $60,000 directly to the worker’s estate. That payment is compensation for the fatality on the job, and the representative of the estate will distribute it as appropriate given the existing estate documents and family relationships.

However, that is not the only compensation the family could receive. Dependent family members, including spouses and children, can receive death and dependency benefits. The number of family members and the family circumstances determine the duration and amount of those payments.

A dependent spouse who survives a worker but has no children with them could receive up to half of their average weekly wage for as long as 10 years, and they can even continue to receive benefits when they remarry. Other family members supported by the deceased individual could also qualify for partial dependency benefits. Typically, they will need evidence of their relationship and of the financial support provided by the deceased worker to make a claim.

Learning more about workers’ compensation death benefits can help families struggling with a recent tragic loss.


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