Who Qualifies as a Dependent for Workers' Compensation Death Benefits?

Determining who qualifies as a dependent for workers' compensation death benefits can be a complicated issue.

Workers' Compensation Dependency Death Benefits

When an industrial injury triggers death, a death benefit is allowed to the dependents of the deceased worker. The survivor benefit is based on the number and type of dependents. A dependent should be either a good-faith member of the staff member’s household or family or related to the employee by marital relationship, blood or adoption in a relationship that is a qualifying relationship that produces a dependency on the deceased worker.

Workers' Compensation Dependency Death Benefits

Dependency can be either total or partial. A total dependent is one who counts on the departed employee member for considerably all his or her support; a partial dependent is one who, at the time of injury, has means of support aside from the deceased’s contributions. Whether a candidate is a total dependent or partial dependent is necessary to determine because total dependents get survivor benefit as fixed by statute, but partial dependents get death benefits based on the amount each year dedicated to the support of the partial dependents.

The legal scheme provides that specific dependents are conclusively presumed to be completely dependent on the departed employee once certain conditions are fulfilled. If a conclusive presumption of overall dependency does not apply, the individual claiming entitlement to a death benefit should develop either overall or partial dependency in accordance with the facts specific to their situation.

Without a presumption, an applicant asserting such must prove actual dependency on the departed employee. The identity of dependents, whether their dependency is partial or overall, and the degree of the partial disability are figured out in accordance with the realities as they exist at the time of the injury to the worker, rather than the time of death.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Law Offices of Kevin Cortright
Attorney Kevin Cortright practices Workers' Compensation Law in Southern California.

Copyright Law Offices of Kevin Cortright

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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