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Do Survivors Receive Workers' Compensation Benefits?

Dec 14, 2018

WC-Flow-1024x680An employed person who qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits usually receives them. Is you are a spouse or a child of the person who dies while working entitled to receive benefits?

Happily, spouses and children are entitled to benefits from workers’ compensation boards if two conditions are met:

  • The worker must have died from a work-related disease or injury, and
  • The employer must be covered under the respective workers’ compensation act when the employee died

The workers’ compensation board usually contacts family survivors after the workplace death.

Who Qualifies For Survivor Benefits?

Any family member who depended on the worker’s income when the worker died receives benefits. These dependents include:

  • Spouses by marriage or common-law spouses
  • Natural or legally-adopted children
  • Stepchildren who were financially dependent on the worker

Survivor benefits are paid as lump sum payments and monthly benefits.

Survivor Benefits: Lump-Sum Payments

Spouses. Spouses receive lump-sum payments using age 40 as the base amount to calculate the total payment. In 2017, the basic lump-sum amount you would receive as the surviving spouse is $80,673.30. The amount you are paid increases by $2,016.83 for every year you are under 40 and decreases by $2,016.83 for every year you are over 40.

Suppose that you are 30 years old when your spouse dies. You will receive:

  • A basic lump-sum payment of $80,673.30
  • An additional payment of $20,168.30 (2,016.83 multiplied by 10 as you are 10 years younger than 30)

Your total lump-sum payment will be $100,841.60.

Suppose you are 55 years old when your spouse dies. The basic lump-sum amount you receive starts at age 40 and is $80,673.30. You will receive a lower lump-sum payment:

  • A basic lump-sum payment of $80,673.30
  • An reduction in your payment of $30,252.46 (2,016.83 multiplied by 15 as you are 15 years older than 40)

Your total lump-sum payment will be $50,841.84.

Separated spouses. You are entitled to receive support payments if:

  • The worker made support payments to you when they died, or
  • You can prove financial dependency on the worker when they died

Multiple spouses. If more than one person is entitled to spousal benefits, the lump-sum payments and monthly ongoing payments are shared between the spouses. The exact amounts depend on each spouse’s relative emotional and financial dependence on the deceased worker.

Dependent children with no surviving spouse. If you are a dependent child, you will receive benefits if you:

  • Are under 19, or
  • Are under 30 and are enrolled in an educational program

Survivors: Monthly Benefits

Spouses / separated spouses. You receive a monthly benefit based upon the worker’s net average earnings at the time of death. These are calculated as follows:

  • Earnings minus income tax, CPP and employment insurance payments

Your monthly payment is a percentage of these earnings, based on your age and what other family dependents may receive.

Monthly benefits decrease 1 per cent for each year you are younger than 40, to a minimum of 20 per cent of the worker’s earnings. They increase by 1 per cent for each year you are older than 40 up to a maximum of 60 per cent of the worker’s earnings.

Spouses with dependent children. When a child reaches 19, 10 per cent of your payment is paid to a child enrolled in an educational program until the child graduates or turns 30. This is repeated for any other children. When your youngest child turns 19, your monthly benefits are changed to the percentage you are entitled to receive for your age on the child’s birthday.

If you are uncertain what benefits you are entitled to as a survivor, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer for guidance. They can determine what payments you are entitled to and how to receive them.

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