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What Benefits Are Available If Your Spouse Dies At Work?


When we say goodbye to our husband or wife as they leave for work, we expect that they will return home later that day. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Accidents happen often in the workplace. Sometimes they result in minor injuries. In some cases, though, they result in fatality.

Learning that your spouse has died in a workplace accident can leave you reeling. How will you pay for expenses without your loved one’s income?

This is something you need to be concerned about. In many states, there are limits to the amount of workers’ compensation you can receive. The good news is that some states are making changes to their laws so that they are more favorable to surviving spouses.

When your spouse dies on the job, the surviving spouse is typically eligible to receive workers’ compensation death benefits. The widow or widower gets a portion of their late spouse’s wage. In most cases, they draw workers’ compensation benefits at the rate of 66%, or two-thirds of the injured worker’s average weekly wage. However, in order to continue receiving these benefits, there is often a catch: the widow or widower cannot remarry. Many people may not think this is right, especially if they are young and may want to marry again in the near future.

Many states allow the surviving spouse to receive a lump sum payment if they choose to marry again. In fact, 23 states plus D.C. give remarried spouses about two years of further benefits, typically in a lump sum.

New York is one of those states. Surviving spouses who live in New York receive a death benefit that is two-thirds of their spouse’s average weekly wage over the past 52 weeks. This amount is paid tax free to the widow or widower. Spouses who are married at the time of death are eligible for survivors benefits for life. If the spouse remarries, the benefit ends with one lump-sum payment of two years of benefits. If there are eligible children, the benefits are shared with them. The spouse receives the full benefit if children are ineligible due to age. Children up to age 18 and children up to age 23 who are full-time college students are eligible to receive benefits. Children who are blind or disabled receive the benefits for life. Divorced spouses are not eligible for any benefits.

If there is no spouse or children, then the worker’s parents receive a $50,000 payment. If there are no surviving family members, then $50,000 is paid to the worker’s estate.

Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Having a spouse die in the workplace can be a huge financial burden, especially if the deceased was the breadwinner of the family and there are young children involved. Fortunately, New York allows survivor benefits for life or until the surviving spouse remarries.

If your spouse died in the workplace, see what financial options are available to you. Get the help you need from a White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon. To schedule a free initial consultation, call (914) 228-1770 or fill out the online form.




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