The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation system provides benefits to injured workers in the event of an injury or an occupational disease. Generally speaking, the benefits cease or the claim abates upon the death of an injured worker. However, there is an exception if the death is the result of the allowed injury or occupational illness. In that case, the dependents of the injured worker may be eligible to apply for death benefits, also known as survivor benefits. In fact, eligible dependents may be able to pursue a claim for death benefits even if the injured worker settled the underlying workers’ compensation claim prior to his or her death.
Although there are specific rules that determine the amount of the bi-weekly benefit, generally speaking, death benefits are paid at a rate equal to two-thirds (2/3) of the injured worker’s average weekly earnings, subject to certain minimum and maximum weekly amounts. Eligible dependents include:
- Surviving spouse
- Dependent children under the age of eighteen (18) years old
- Dependent children between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five (18 – 25) if attending an accredited educational institution on a full-time basis.
- Dependent children over the age of eighteen (18) who are either physically or mentally incapacitated
- Dependent family members, such as parents, if living with the injured worker at the time of death
In certain situations there may be multiple dependents. In that case, the Administrator of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will determine the proper apportionment of the bi-weekly death benefits.
In addition to the above, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will pay medical and funeral expenses as a result of allowed death claim. However, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will not reimburse for funeral expenses beyond a limit of Seven Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($7,500.00).
It is never easy to cope with a loss of a loved one. That process is made only more difficult when the loss is a result of either a workplace injury or occupational illness. However, there are benefits available to help you cope with the financial loss you are suffering. If you have questions about these benefits, please contact one of our understanding and experienced workers’ compensation attorneys.