Being injured at work is an event that can dramatically change someone’s life, as well as the lives of their loved ones. Workers’ compensation provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job, which helps them pay for medical expenses and other financial burdens associated with not being able to make an income.
Learning about the death of a loved one is a traumatic experience, but what is even less comforting is knowing that you will not be able to manage the bills on your own during this difficult time. Fortunately, the government offers benefits to the family members of a deceased employee through Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation and social security programs.
Worker’s Compensation for the Deceased?
The state of Massachusetts recognizes that receiving compensation at a time when you are emotionally and financially distraught is essential to help you through this ordeal. By law, employers are required to provide workers’ compensation survivor benefits to the significant others and children of workers who died due to an injury that occurred within the workplace. Workers’ compensation will also provide $4,000 to cover burial costs for the deceased. Benefits can also include weekly compensation, equal to two-thirds of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage, at a maximum amount of $1,135.82. This maximum amount was determined to be the state’s average weekly wage for October 1, 2011 to September 20, 2012. The spouse of a deceased employee will continue to get this benefit until they remarry, and can be eligible to receive a yearly cost-of-living adjustment two years after they have begun to receive benefits.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is also here to support families during this difficult time. As of September 30, 2012, OSHA has set forward initiatives to keep families informed while it investigates fatal workplace incidents. OSHA representatives will reach out to families as early as possible in their investigation to “establish relationships with them and give families a point of contact throughout the investigation.” Should the worst occur with respect to a family member at work, it is important to keep in touch periodically with your designated OSHA representative so that you completely understand the process and ensure that you are receiving what is owed to you.
How Do I Know What I Am Owed?
The death of a loved one at his place of work can alter your life and the lives of everyone in your immediate family. Massachusetts is a state that offers comfort through assistance in achieving financial stability for you and your family. In addition to providing workers’ compensation benefits, the state also offers benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), which is dependent upon how much the deceased employee paid into the system. Still, it is important to mention that workers’ compensation claims can be disputed and the laws governing workers’ compensation are complicated. For this reason, the state of Massachusetts indicates that “it is strongly advised that you seek legal counsel to protect your rights and interests.”