In the tragic event that an employee dies due to a work-related accident or injury, the family members or dependents of the deceased employee will likely be eligible to receive death benefits under the Illinois workers compensation system. Death benefits are intended to provide financial support to those who will be the most devastated – both emotionally and financially – by the death of their loved one.
Who is Eligible to Receive Death Benefits?
When it comes to determining who is eligible to receive death benefits, the relationships between the existing family members and the deceased individual will play a significant role, with the children and spouse of the deceased typically taking priority for being the recipient of death benefits. However, if the deceased worker doesn’t have children and/or is separated in some way from his spouse, other individuals who may be eligible to receive such benefits can include:
- The significant other of the deceased individual, particularly if this partner cohabitated with the deceased individual and was partially or fully financially dependent on him
- Parents, siblings and other family members of the deceased individual
- In-laws, stepparents or stepchildren
- Unrelated individuals, in rare cases
Because death benefits are intended to be charitable in nature, officials (and state laws governing them) are generally fairly liberal when deciding eligibility, especially in cases when no dependent or related individual would be readily available as the death benefit beneficiary.
Death Benefit Compensation Amounts
The compensation awarded for death benefits generally includes money that would cover funeral and burial expenses, up to a set maximum, and compensation for the deceased workers’ lost wages, which is typically a percentage of what that employee had earned on a weekly basis. As for how long death benefits are paid, the length of these payments will depend on who the beneficiary is ultimately chosen to be. For example, while children who are beneficiaries can be eligible to receive death benefits until they turn 18 or 21 years old, widows may receive these benefits until they remarry. In some cases, death benefits may be paid out to a beneficiary for the rest of his life.
At the law firm of Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C., our experienced Mount Vernon workers compensation lawyers have been providing client-centered representation to our Southern Illinois clients since 1950. Our trusted attorneys focus on our clients’ needs, and we do everything we can to help them get the maximum possible compensation for their workplace injuries so they can focus on recovery and moving on with their life. If you or a loved one has sustained any type of injury while working, contact us by calling (800)-553-3125 for a free, thorough assessment of your case, along with professional advice regarding the best manner in which to move forward.