If you recently lost a loved one in an Atlanta work-related accident, you might be entitled to death benefits under the Georgia workers’ compensation system. In order to receive benefits, which include weekly income benefits, funeral expenses and the deceased’s medical bills, you must be considered an eligible beneficiary under state laws. If you’re unsure of how to proceed with a claim or whether or not you qualify, you’ll want to speak to a local workers’ compensation attorney.
Eligible Death Benefit Beneficiaries
Workers’ compensation death benefits are meant to help those who relied heavily on the deceased worker for financial support. To be considered eligible for death benefits, you must be able to show that you were dependent on the worker for your livelihood.
There are two parties that the law presumes are totally dependent and, therefore, automatically labels as eligible beneficiaries:
- Spouse – legally married spouses are beneficiaries. However, if the couple was living separately for 90 days or more prior to the accident, the death benefits claim might be denied because it’s presumed the surviving spouse wasn’t dependent. Also, spouses of common-law marriages might not be eligible.
- Children – Children under age 18 are dependents, and this includes any natural or stepchildren, legally adopted children, posthumous children and acknowledged children born out of wedlock. Other children who qualify include those older than 18 but incapable of earning a living due to a physical or mental disability and children younger than 22 who are enrolled full-time in college.
In addition to spouses and children, any other party that can prove they were dependent upon the deceased for support may be eligible for benefits. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Procedural Manual provides, “In all other cases whether a person is wholly or partially dependent must be shown by facts establishing actual support in existence at the time of the injury or disease, which caused death, and for a period at least three months prior to the accident.” An example would be elderly parents or a mentally incapacitated sibling.
Duration of Death Benefits
For surviving spouses, death benefits will cease when the spouse remarries or openly cohabitates with a partner. For children, benefits will cease when they turn 18 (or 22 if they are enrolled in school). If a child beneficiary gets married before he or she turns 22, it does not affect his or her benefits.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Death Benefits
If you recently lost a loved one due to a work-related injury in Georgia, you are welcome to contact Bader Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation. We help grieving families get the support they need when a work accident claimed their loved one’s life. Call our workers’ compensation team today at 678-562-5595 to see how we may be of service to you.