If your household, like many American households, relied on a two-person income to make ends meet, the untimely death of your spouse may have resulted in significant financial strain for your family. If the cause of death was work-related, you may wonder if you can collect your deceased spouse’s workers’ compensation benefits on his or her behalf.
According to the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, state law does allow for survivor benefits. The DOL explains eligibility requirements as well as what survivor benefits entail.
Eligibility requirements for survivor benefits
The eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation survivor benefits are fairly straightforward in Missouri. To collect benefits, you must classify as a “dependent” under state law. Though who qualifies as a dependent may vary from situation to situation, such a person is typically a spouse or a minor child. However, the law does make exceptions for adult children who are incapacitated, full-time students or active duty military members. If a claimant is not a spouse or child, the courts will carefully consider his or her degree of dependency before making a determination.
In addition to dependency requirements, workers’ comp law also details circumstantial requirements. Those are as follows:
- Your loved one’s death was the result of a work-related injury.
- Your loved one sustained a work injury but remained employable, but then he or she sustained a compensable permanent partial disability at work and later died of an unrelated cause.
- Your loved one sustains a permanent partial disability at work and then later dies of an unrelated cause.
Trying to claim survivor benefits in the latter two instances may come with legal challenges. The DOL suggests working with an attorney in these situations.
Types of benefits you may recover
Typically, the law entitles survivors to weekly benefits of 66 2/3% of the deceased workers’ average weekly wages for up to one year following the date of the incident. The employer may also have to pay up to $5,000 in funeral expenses.