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Workplace Fatalities: Information for Surviving Family Members

When a worker is killed on the job, not only do their loved ones lose a companion, but also, someone that contributed income to the household. If you’ve had a family member pass away due to work injuries, you may be entitled to receive “death benefits” through workers’ compensation.

Who Can Receive Texas Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits?

In Texas, death benefits are paid out to the workers’ spouse and children in the event of a workplace fatality. If the worker has no spouse or children, his or her financially dependent parents, stepparents, siblings, and grandparents may be eligible for these benefits.

How Much Can I Receive from Workers’ Comp Death Benefits?

These benefits are monthly payments which equal 75 percent of the deceased worker’s “average weekly wage” and are subject to maximum and minimum benefit amount restrictions. For instance, if the deceased employee’s average weekly wages were $600, death benefits would equal $450 per week.

How Long Do Death Benefits Last?

The Texas Department of Insurance states that a surviving spouse may receive death benefits for the rest of his or her life—unless the spouse remarries. Additionally, a surviving spouse who remarries will receive a lump sum payment of death benefits equal to two years (104 weeks) of the benefits.

If the deceased worker has dependent children who still qualify for the death benefit after the expiration of the two-year time period, the entire benefit will be divided equally among the children if there is more than one child.

When Do Children Receive Death Benefits?

A child is eligible to receive these benefits until he or she becomes 18 years old. However, if the child is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited educational institution, the age is 25.

If there is more than one eligible child, as one child loses eligibility the benefits are re-distributed equally among the remaining eligible offspring. For example, if the accident victim has two children, 25 and 17. As soon as the eldest child turns 26, then he or she is no longer able to receive benefits, and the younger child will still receive benefits.

A physically or mentally disabled child who is dependent on the date the victim died may receive death benefits until the date the child passes away or no longer has the disability. An eligible child with a physical or mental disability must provide the insurer documentation of the disability for the remainder of his or her life.

If a grandchild was at least 20 percent dependent on the deceased worker at the time of the employee’s death, he or she may be eligible to receive death benefits—unless the grandchild’s own parent is eligible of the death benefit. An eligible grandchild can receive benefits until he or she reaches 18 years of age. On the other hand, a grandchild who is eligible to receive benefits and who is not a minor at the time of the employee’s death may receive no more than 364 weeks of death benefits.

If you’ve had a family member pass away due to work injuries in Texas, schedule a free consultation with our San Antonio workplace injury attorney at Tom Rhodes Law Firm P.C. today. With more than 30 years of experience, we have an exceptional track record of success to help you recover the compensation you deserve.