How to Obtain Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

workers' compensation death benefitsIf you have lost a loved one from a work-related accident, Arizona law provides workers’ compensation death benefits for certain dependent family members. These benefits can help pay for medical, funeral and burial expenses and provide some financial security after a tragic work accident.

If you would like more information about Arizona workers’ compensation death benefits, a skilled Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney from Phillips Law Group can help. We can review the details of your claim to determine if you are eligible for benefits. If you are, we can assist you with filing a claim for the benefits to which you are entitled.

Who Is Entitled to Death Benefits?

Arizona law allows for several different family members to potentially receive death benefits. The law gives priority to immediate family members. If there are no immediate surviving family members, benefits may be available to other family members who were dependent on the worker for financial support.

Family members who may be entitled to death benefits may include:

  • A surviving spouse
  • A child under 18
  • A child under 22 who is a full-time college or university student
  • A child of any age who is not capable of supporting themselves
  • Parents who were financially dependent on the worker
  • Siblings under 18 who were financially dependent on the worker

The rules pertaining to death benefits are complicated. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can explain what benefits may be available in your particular claim.

How Much Are Basic Death Benefits?

Death benefits include payment of burial expenses, up to $5,000. Additionally, eligible family members can receive a combined amount equal to two-thirds (66.7 percent) of the workers’ average monthly wage, subject to state maximums. In 2019, the state maximum is $4,741.57.

The amount of benefits that an eligible family member is entitled to depends on the existence of certain family members and the deceased worker’s average pay. Death benefits are paid in the following priority and amount:

  • If there is only a surviving spouse ”“ The spouse receives two-thirds (66.7 percent) of the workers’ average monthly wage until the spouse dies or remarries. If the spouse remarries, he or she receives a lump-sum payment of two years’ worth of benefits.
  • If there is a surviving spouse and child ”“ If there is at least one child and a spouse, the spouse receives 35 percent of the average monthly wage. The children must then share the other two-thirds (31.7 percent) of the wages equally between them.
  • If there is a child but no spouse ”“ The child receives two-thirds (66.7 percent) of the average monthly wage. If there is more than one child, the children split the same percentage equally. Children receive death benefit payments until they die, marry or reach the age limits above. Children incapable of self-support can continue receiving benefits after age 18 or 22.
  • If there are dependent parents but no spouse or child ”“ Parents who were financially dependent on the deceased worker can receive benefits. If there is one wholly dependent parent, the parent receives 25 percent of the average monthly wage. If there are two wholly dependent parents, they share 40 percent of the average monthly wage equally. If the parents were partially dependent on the worker’s income, they share 15 percent. Partial dependents can receive death benefits for up to 100 weeks.
  • Dependent siblings but no spouse, child or dependent parents ”“ If the deceased worker had a sibling who was wholly dependent on the worker, he or she receives 25 percent of the average monthly wage. If there were two or more wholly dependent siblings, they share 35 percent equally. If there were partial dependents, they share 15 percent. Partial dependent siblings receive death benefits for up to 100 weeks.

How Can I File a Claim for Death Benefits?

A death benefit claim begins by completing the state-mandated death benefits claim form. This form requires you to provide specific information, such as:

  • Contact information
  • Information about the deceased worker
  • Information about the cause of death
  • Information about all dependents

Learn More About Collecting Death Benefits in Arizona

In Arizona, you only have one year from your loved one’s death to pursue a claim for death benefits, so it is important that you talk to a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer. The attorneys at Phillips Law Group have extensive experience representing injured Arizona workers and their families.

Our firm will investigate your case to make sure we explore all your options and remain communicative with you throughout the entire process to ensure you receive your benefits in a timely manner. We charge no upfront costs or fees unless we can help you recover compensation for your case.

Contact us at 602-222-2222 to schedule a free consultation to get started.