Generally, the dependents of a worker who was killed on the job or who died from an occupational illness are entitled to benefits that include wage-replacement payments and funeral expenses.
Funeral expenses for the deceased worker are paid up to a maximum established by law ($6,000 in metropolitan New York counties, $5,000 in other New York counties and $3,500 in New Jersey). Family members may also receive weekly payments based of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage at the time of his or her death, up to an established maximum.
In New Jersey, wage-replacement payments are 70 percent of the weekly wage of the deceased worker. In New York they are 66 percent.
Typically, dependents assumed to be eligible for a workers’ comp death benefit include the worker’s spouse and minor-age children. Others who claim to be the deceased’s dependents (parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc.) and thus eligible for a death benefit may be required to prove their actual financial dependence on the deceased worker.
A workers’ comp attorney who is experienced in New York and New Jersey can help affected family members who believe they deserve a death benefit.