Connecticut workers’ compensation death benefits for dependents

Connecticut workers’ compensation law provides benefits for certain surviving dependents.

Connecticut workers' compensation law provides for a death benefit to surviving dependents when an employee dies from a work-related accident or injury, or from an employment-related occupational disease. This money benefit can help ease the financial hardship on a surviving spouse or other eligible dependent after losing the income from the deceased relative who provided the survivor's support.

The payments

The benefit pays $4,000 in burial expenses to the dependents or to the person who paid the expenses. Ongoing survivors' benefit payments are based on a portion of the average weekly earnings of the deceased provider, according to a complicated formula that also provides for yearly cost-of-living increases.

Eligible dependents

The law's description of which dependent survivors are eligible and how the benefit is paid out is complicated. Basically, a surviving spouse who is the only dependent is eligible for death benefit payments until he or she remarries. If there are minor dependent children surviving who either are children of the surviving spouse or live with the surviving spouse, the spouse receives the entire benefit in support of him or herself and those children.

If, however, there are children who do not live with the surviving spouse or who are not that surviving spouse's children, the death benefit will be divided equally among all the dependents, but paid on minor children's behalves to their surviving parents or guardians or to another adult for the children's benefits.

If there is no surviving spouse, all dependent children will divide the death benefit equally.

Children receive death benefits until they turn 18 or until they turn 22 if they are full-time students. Children who are disabled from working receive compensation into adulthood unless and until they are no longer incapacitated.

If there is no surviving spouse and no surviving dependent children, other people who were in fact dependent on the deceased worker may be eligible for death benefits for up to 312 weeks from the date of death.

Deadlines

A surviving dependent of a worker who died because of a work-related accident or illness should file notice of death benefit claim as soon as possible after the death. Connecticut law that sets deadlines for filing timely survivors' claims is very complex and anyone who may be eligible for death benefits should consult an experienced workers' comp attorney for advice about filing deadlines. In certain circumstances, the outcome may be unexpected or there may be ways to preserve a claim, and consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer can be crucially important to keeping a claim alive.

Legal counsel a smart idea

An old, but important Connecticut workers' comp case about death benefits is often quoted, according to the Connecticut Practice Series, to say: "All that the dependent must prove are: The employee's death; the dependence and the causal connection between the injury for which the employee was awarded, or was entitled to have been awarded compensation; and the death."

While that makes it sound simple, it often is not, especially when it comes to medical proof of the link between work and the injury or disease, so consultation with skilled legal counsel can be extremely helpful to a Connecticut workers' compensation death benefit claimant.

Keywords: Connecticut, workers' compensation, death benefit, dependent, survivor, spouse, child, deadline, claim, notice