California Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
It’s hard to fathom being able to bear the agony of losing a loved one due to an accident or injury sustained at work. Even a single instance may alter your life’s trajectory in profound ways. Workers’ compensation payments might be available if your loved one died from injuries sustained in a working accident. It is hoped that these benefits will provide you and your loved ones with some financial stability while you navigate this challenging period.
Who Can Receive Death Benefits?
You might be entitled to death benefits if you were either a member of the employee’s household or a close family at the time of the injury. Relatives that qualify include:
- Children (including step- and adoptive children)
- Siblings (including in-laws)
- Aunts and uncles
- Nieces and nephews
Survivor benefits under the Workers’ Compensation
In California, workers’ compensation plans must offer monetary benefits to the deceased employee’s family or dependents. State legislation determines who may get this money and how much they receive. Here are some important considerations:
- Priority is often given to dependents, such as a husband, children, or elderly living-in relatives.
- To be eligible, children may need to have been born during a legal marriage, or a partner must have been legally wedded to the deceased.
- If there are no qualified dependents, the payments go to the decedent’s estate.
Those eligible for survivor benefits include:
- Children under the age of 18,
- Adult children who are physically or mentally incompetent, and
- A surviving spouse earning $30,000 or less 12 months before the employee’s death.
Other family members or household members (including spouses earning more than $30,000) must prove that they were wholly or partly reliant on the deceased employee. For instance, an elderly parent may qualify as a complete dependant if he can demonstrate that he lived with his son (the dead employee) during the accident and that his son paid for his food, clothes, and other living costs. (Cal. Labor Code 3501-3503 (2020).
How Much Do Dependents Receive?
As for the deceased’s loved ones, California will pay up to $320,000 in death benefits, including $10,000 for funeral costs. This sum will be distributed to the surviving spouse, children, and other dependents of the deceased worker.
It’s vital to remember that anybody who can establish they need financial support from the worker for food, clothes, and shelter might be labeled a complete dependent. The maximum benefit per dependent for workers with just one dependant is $250,000. Two working adults sharing a household will divide $290,000. Workers with three children to support will divide $320,000 among themselves.
Partial dependents are eligible for survivor payments, but only if there is only one total dependant. A partial dependant is a person who depends on the dead worker’s salary but also has other sources of support.
The distribution of death benefits is proportionate to the amount of financial help each dependant received. If total dependents are non-existent, partial dependents will get eight times the yearly assistance they received, up to $250,000. If there is just one total dependant, partial dependents will get four times their yearly assistance, up to a maximum of $290,000.
How Are Death Benefits Paid?
The death benefit is not paid in one big payment. Instead, they are distributed similarly to temporary total disability compensation in weekly installments. The temporary disability payment rate equals two-thirds of the deceased employee’s average weekly wages. Any dependent children under 18 will continue to receive survivors’ benefits at the temporary disability rate until they hit adulthood. Adult children with mental or physical disabilities will get lifetime benefits.
When to Make a Death Benefits Claim
Claim forms for death payments under workers’ compensation must be submitted by dependents of the deceased worker no later than one year after the worker’s death from a work-related accident or illness. More information regarding death benefits in California, including eligibility requirements and application procedures, may be found on the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations website.
Talk to a lawyer immediately if you believe you may be eligible for California workers’ compensation death payments. An experienced death benefits attorney can give vital assistance to make the process of applying for and collecting benefits go more smoothly than it would if you tried to navigate it on your own.
California employment cases can be complex. Your employer will likely fight back. You need someone on your side to protect your rights and get the money you deserve.
Call Setyan Law at (213)-618-3655 for a consultation.