Michigan lawyer explains survivor’s benefits after a workplace death occurs.
Children, spouses, and family members are entitled to survivor’s benefits if a loved one is killed on-the-job. The amount paid is based upon what the deceased employee was earning before his or her death. It is an average of the highest 39 paid weeks during the last 52 weeks of employment. The minimum death benefit is equal to 50% of the state average weekly wage in the year of injury. Payments continue for a maximum of 500 weeks, and it is tax free money. Here is what every loved one needs to know about claiming workplace death benefits in Michigan.
A spouse, either husband or wife, must prove factual dependency to receive survivors benefits. They can be found “totally” or “partially” dependent based upon how much money was contributed to them for support. Spouses who are found to be totally dependent will receive 500 weeks of wage loss benefits. Spouses who are found to be only partially dependent will receive a reduced amount based upon contribution.
Watch out for insurance companies who manipulate dependency to reduce what should be paid. If it is found that a spouse received less than half of his or her support from the deceased employees, wage loss benefits can be disputed. Rules for spouses are complicated and it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer.
Workplace death laws for children
Children under the age of 16 are presumed to be wholly dependent and automatically entitled to 500 weeks of lost wages. It is possible to seek additional wage loss benefits until the child reaches age 21 under specific circumstances.
Children over age 16 will need to show factually dependency based upon support given by the deceased employee while he or she was alive. Adult children can seek survivors benefits if incapacitated and dependent.
Adopted children are treated the same as biological children. Illegitimate children may also be entitled to survivors benefits. Stepchildren must show factual dependency to qualify. Even children who are in the womb can be entitled to compensation.
If a widow remarries or the child is adopted, this could change the needs of the child and how much workplace death benefits are paid under workers’ comp. Multiple children who are totally dependent must share equally in what is paid.
Workers’ comp death benefits are limited to a “member of the family.” This includes lineal descendants, ancestors, and brothers or sisters. Family members who are only partially dependent share in proportion to their relative dependency. A person who receives less than half of his or her support from a deceased employee is not considered a dependent.
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 (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.