Most people know that the workers’ compensation system provides benefits to employees who suffer harm on the job, whether it results from a sudden accident or an illness that develops over time. This protection also extends to instances in which an employee loses their life during the course and scope of their employment. To help a family cope with the financial stress associated with the loss of a breadwinner, the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system provides benefits to a surviving spouse. Brockton workers’ compensation lawyer Robert C. Shea is ready to help spouses assert their right to benefits for the loss of their loved one.
Calculating a Surviving Spouse’s Benefits in Massachusetts
After a loved one has lost their life in a job-related accident, the first step in seeking benefits involves filing a claim with the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Massachusetts requires almost every employer to maintain insurance coverage for their employees. People who are eligible to receive death benefits include dependents of the victim. A dependent is defined as a member of the employee’s family or next of kin who was either entirely or partially dependent on the monetary income of the victim at the time of their death. To receive death benefits, the surviving spouse or dependent must prove that the victim was indeed an employee. If, for example, the victim was being paid under the table or as an independent contractor, their relatives may not be eligible for death benefits.
After investigating the nature of the accident and proving that the employee would have been entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, any surviving spouse or dependents of the victim will be awarded weekly death benefit payments. According to Massachusetts law, a surviving spouse receives two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wages, up to a specific maximum level. After a spouse has received weekly death benefits for two years, an increase to reflect a heightened cost of living rate may be applied. The spouse is entitled to continue receiving these benefits as long as they do not remarry and remain dependent. In the event that the spouse remarries, each dependent eligible child may receive a weekly payment of $60, although the weekly amount paid to dependent children may not exceed the monetary benefits that the spouse was receiving. These benefits are also designed to cover burial expenses of up to $4,000.
Seek Guidance from a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in the Brockton Area
There is nothing more painful than losing a loved one. At The Law Office of Robert C. Shea, P.C. we understand what an unexpected death may mean for a family. During this tragic and painful time, the last thing that you should need to handle on your own is navigating the workers’ compensation system effectively and protecting your rights. Brockton workers’ compensation attorney Robert C. Shea can counsel surviving spouses and dependents throughout Plymouth, Norfolk, and Bristol Counties, including in Brockton, Stoughton, North Easton, and South Easton. Call us at 508-506-5681 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a dedicated work injury attorney.