Death benefits for spouses of same-sex marriage

United States Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage but you still probably won’t get much from workers’ compensation in Michigan.

The United States Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Changes will be felt across the nation and many people have questions about workers’ compensation.

Michigan law provides for survivors benefits if an employee dies in a workplace accident. There must be at least one dependent to qualify and multiple dependents share in any recovery. The amount paid will equal 500 weeks of wage loss at the appropriate compensation rate. There is also a $6,000 burial expense.

The question of dependency can be extremely complicated. Michigan law originally provided that a wife was a conclusive dependent entitled to receive survivors benefits if her husband died in the course of his employment. This was found to be unconstitutional gender bias and neither a wife or husband are now a conclusively presumed dependent.

A spouse must prove factual dependency to receive survivors benefits and will be disqualified if less than ½ of his or her support came from the decedent. Most families need two incomes to survive and a working spouse might not get any death benefits. Not exactly fair or reasonable for someone who lost a husband or wife.

A spouse can also be found to be partially dependent. This determination is very complicated as several factors must be considered. Whether the spouse is receiving income from another source and how much the deceased worker actually contributed must be examined.

It is a tough road for individuals who lose their spouse in a work accident. No amount of money can replace a human life. Now that our gay and lesbian friends can get married, they can also worry about this absurd legal standard.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

Injured On The Job: A Guide to Michigan Workers’ Compensation Law (Free Book)

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Ted Eytan.

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