Following the tragic loss of a loved one, family members should be afforded the time and financial security to grieve and recover. The emotional turmoil during this time cannot be understated and may further be complicated by the insecurities of how to provide the vital income upon which the family relied.
In California, the families dependent on workers killed while on the job are entitled to certain benefits to help in their time of need. Referred to as “death benefits,” they cover such expenses as funeral costs and future lost income. Even though surviving family members are entitled to death benefits, powerful workers’ compensation claims adjusters may drag their heels or otherwise impede the dispersal of these crucial payments.
Eligible dependents for California workers’ compensation death benefits
Under California workers’ compensation laws, two classifications of dependents are eligible to receive death benefits after the untimely passing of a provider: total dependents and partial dependents.
- Total dependents: completely relied on the deceased for financial support
- Partial dependents: relied partially on the deceased for financial support
Some types of family are automatically eligible for total dependent status under California law. They include:
- Minor children (under 18-years old);
- Adult children (over 18-years old) physically or mentally disabled and unable to earn a living; and
- Spouses who earned less than $30,000 in the year prior to the deceased’s passing.
Partial dependents include spouses who earned more than $30,000 in the year before a tragic workplace accident. Other individuals who may qualify as partial dependents include members of the deceased’s household related by:
- Blood (parents, siblings, etc.);
- Marriage; or
Partial dependents must prove they lived in the house of the decedent and relied partially on him or her for financial support in some way. Financial support includes living expenses such as food and clothing.
Types of California workers’ compensation death benefits
Workers’ compensation insurance providers must furnish eligible dependents with burial expenses and death benefits. Family examining these benefits should understand there are both financial and time restrictions to collecting them. Typically, dependents have one year from the time of the deceased’s passing to apply for death benefits.
Family members of deceased workers are entitled to reasonable burial expenses to lay their loved one to rest. The cap for burial expenses in California is $10,000.
California workers’ compensation death benefits are determined by the total number of total dependents in the deceased’s household. Partial dependents may only receive benefits if there is only one or no total dependents.
|One dependent||Two dependents||Three dependents||One total dependent and one or more total dependents||One or more partial dependents|
|$250,000||$290,000||$320,000||$250,000 plus four times annual support for partial dependents not to exceed $290,000||Eight times annual support not to exceed $250,000|
Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorneys
California workers’ compensation death benefits are rarely guaranteed: employers and workers’ compensation insurance providers may claim the employee’s death did not result from a workplace injury or attempt to pay less than what is deserved.
The laws are complicated and payments are based on complex calculations making it difficult to understand exactly who gets what and when. If your family suffered the tragic loss of a family member while on the job, contact a qualified Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney about your case and get the compensation you are entitled to.