Death benefits for children in Michigan

How much can a child collect under workers compensation for the loss of a parent?

Losing a father or mother is the worst thing that can happen to any child. It can be especially difficult if the parent was the primary source of income and support.

Workers compensation is available for dependent children. The amount is generally 500 weeks of the parent’s wage loss benefits.

This is the exclusive remedy against the employer. It is not always fair and the value of these benefits can never make up for the loss of a parent.

Dependency and multiple children

There must be at least one dependent to qualify for survivor benefits under workers compensation. Dependency can be a complicated legal issue and you cannot rely on common sense. If there are several dependents, each must share in one recovery.

Children automatically receive 500 weeks

Children under the age of 16 at the time of death are presumed to be wholly dependent and entitled to 500 weeks of wage loss benefits.

Children over the age of 16 may be considered wholly dependent and entitled to 500 weeks of  benefits if they are physically or mentally incapacitated and living with the parent at the time of death.

Children over the age of 16 may have to prove factual dependency to qualify for benefits.  It requires proof of how much support the deceased parent actually provided to the child.

Claiming more than 500 weeks

After 500 weeks of benefits, a child may be entitled to continuing payments until age 21. The maximum is age 18 if the living parent has remarried. A continuing need for benefits must be shown under either circumstance.

The benefit rate

A child is entitled to the same weekly rate as the deceased parent. The amount should equal 80% of the after-tax value of the parent’s average weekly wage. This is usually about 60% of gross pay.

The weekly rate is fixed at the time of death and is subject to a yearly maximum. Wage loss benefits are income tax free.


Insurance companies do not always pay the correct amount of benefits. Disputes frequently arise about dependency and the weekly rate.

A surviving child may also have a lawsuit against a third-party who caused the death. The insurance company is allowed to recoup benefits already paid and to offset future payments.

Sometimes a settlement can be negotiated that is more beneficial to the child. An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help sort out these problems and make sure that the child gets the best possible recovery.

To speak with one of our workers compensation lawyers in Michigan, call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation. You only pay a fee if you are successful with your case.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

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