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Do You Know the Rule? Workers’ Comp ‘Death Benefits’ in N.Y.

03 Aug, 2023 Chris Parker

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New York, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) -- Employers and their insurance carriers may be responsible for paying a surviving family member workers’ compensation benefits when an employee dies due to a work-related event.

This article explains who may be eligible to receive benefits, the types of injuries that are covered, the amount of money the employer (or carrier) might have to pay, and the circumstances that might terminate the payment of benefits.

For what types of incidents are death benefits potentially available?

The following injuries, if causally related to work, may entitle a family member to benefits:

(1) A fatal injury at work; or
(2) An occupational disease or condition

The injury, disease, or condition is only compensable if:

(1) It is directly related to the decedent’s job duties; and
(2) It occurred while the worker was engaging in his job duties.

Keep in mind that not only the injury itself, but death resulting from complications of the injury after a period of medical care would qualify.

Who is eligible?

The following people may file for death benefits:

(1) The spouse of the deceased
(2) Children of the deceased who were under the age of 18 at the time of death
(3) Children of any age who were totally blind or physically disabled at the time of death and whose disablement is total and permanent
(4) Parents and grandparents of the deceased who were wholly or partially dependent on the deceased for support at the time of death
(5) Children of the deceased, dependent grandchildren, and dependent siblings of the deceased under the age of 23 who are enrolled and attending any accredited educational institution full-time, when the death occurred on or after January 1, 1978
(6) Grandchildren and siblings of the deceased who were under the age of 18 and wholly or partially dependent on the deceased for support at the time of death

What's covered?

Reimbursement for funeral expenses or memorial services under the Workers' Compensation Law, includes, but is not limited to, the following items:

--> Grave sites
--> Headstone
--> Organist
--> Priest, minister, rabbi, or other officiant
--> Removal from hospital
--> Casket
--> Vault
--> Chapel rental
--> Embalming
--> Preparation fees
--> Hearse
--> Cemetery fees including plot
--> Death certificates
--> Newspaper ad
--> Cremation costs

What might an employer (or insurer) have to pay?

--> The employer (insurer) will have to pay up $12,500 in the counties of Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester. In the remaining counties, reimbursement tops out at $10,500.
--> Weekly payments that are equal to two-thirds of the decedent’s average weekly salary or wages based on the year prior to the accident.
--> If there are no surviving dependents entitled to receive death benefits, the employer (or insurer) must pay $50,000 to the employee’s surviving parents.
--> If there are no surviving dependents entitled to receive death benefits and no surviving parents, the employer (or insurer) must pay $50,000 to the employee’s estate.

What might terminate weekly benefits?

The rules differ depending on whether it is the spouse or a depending who is receiving the funds.
A spouse will receive the weekly benefits for life unless the spouse remarries. In that situation, the spouse would receive a lump sum payment equal to two years of benefits, and then the payments would cease.

Minor children of the deceased receive benefits until they turn 18 years old. An exception applies if the child is a full-time student, in which case he or she would receive benefits until he or she turn 23 years old.


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