How do I file a death claim with Workers' Compensation?

If a loved one has been killed due to an accident at work, then a family can claim death benefits through Workers' Compensation. Learn more about how that is done.

A family that has lost a loved one due to a workplace accident is suffering in many ways. Besides the emotional toll, families may be financially devastated if the person was the main wage earner. In addition, there are often medical bills and funeral expenses to cover. Most families are simply not prepared for all the changes, expenses and issues that can arise. To ease the burden, there is the option of making a death claim with Workers' Compensation.

Death claim requirements

The Department of Labor notes claims need to be filed before the 30-day time limit after the worker dies. If a previous disability claim was filed, then that will meet this requirement. After the death of a worker, his or her family is notified by Workers' Compensation. Typically, they will receive a call and a postcard containing the claim number and other details needed to file. The family member who is filing for the benefits becomes the claimant and must provide proof of his or her relationship with the worker, along with the following:

· Itemized paid funeral bill

· Marriage certificate

· Death certificate

· Addresses and names of next of kin

· Birth certificates

· Proof of dissolution of previous marriages

However, the department will collect evidence of the accident or incident and provide the family with any required forms.

The spouse or children of the worker are eligible to file a claim, along with guardians of minor children. If there are not children or a spouse, other eligible family members will be notified, but must file a claim within 60 days or the case is closed and no benefits can be collected. Death claims are expedited through the process, and the department takes special care to ensure the family is treated fairly and kindly. Delays are avoided at all costs.

Details and restrictions

It is important to note death benefits paid to a surviving family member can be garnished for child support and alimony through a court order. Furthermore, a spouse will stop receiving benefits if he or she remarries before he or she is 55 years old.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission notes death benefits are generally paid at 2/3 the average weekly pay of the worker. Benefits also include a $10,000 funeral expense payment, along with medical expenses.

When a loved one dies due to a work accident, it can be a trying time. However, the family is entitled to Workers' Compensation death benefits. Due to time limits and other restrictions, though, benefit claims should be handled in a timely manner. For more assistance, please contact Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler.