Death Benefits Available Under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation System
Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on May 09, 2019 in Workers' Compensation
Surviving dependents of a worker who passed away due to a work-related injury or illness may be eligible for death benefits through the Florida Workers’ Compensation system. These benefits can help pay for medical, funeral and burial expenses and provide some financial relief after a tragic work accident.
If you need assistance with filing a claim for death benefits, contact a skilled West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyer at Gordon & Partners to request a free, no obligation legal consultation. We can review your case and determine if you may be eligible for these benefits.
Who is Eligible to Receive Death Benefits?
In Florida, only certain individuals are eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits. These individuals must have depended on the worker for financial support and may include the deceased’s:
- Children under age 18
- Children under age 22 if they are full-time students
- Children of any age who are unable to support themselves due to physical or mental limitations
If the deceased is unmarried or has no children, other surviving dependents may be able to qualify for death benefits if they relied on the worker for financial support. These include:
How Much Are Basic Death Benefits?
Florida workers’ compensation death benefits are paid weekly to eligible dependents. The amount is subject to a state maximum, which is $939 per week for an injury or illness that occurred in 2019 or later. Benefits are issued to eligible dependents by priority, as follows:
- If the deceased was married but had no children, the spouse receives death benefits in the amount of 50 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wages before death.
- If the deceased was married and had one or more children, the spouse receives death benefits in the amount of 50 percent of the deceased’s pre-death average weekly wages. The spouse also receives an additional 16.7 percent on the children’s behalf. A workers’ compensation judge may determine a different allocation of death benefits if it is in the parties’ best interest.
- If the deceased had children but was not married or a surviving spouse passes away at a later date, each child receives 33.33 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wage. No more than 66.7 percent total will be issued.
- If the deceased has no children and was not married, qualifying dependent parents each receive death benefits of 25 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wage. If there are no qualifying dependent parents, dependent siblings and grandchildren each receive death benefits amounting to 15 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wage. No more than a combined 66.7 percent benefits will be issued to dependents.
Workers’ compensation also pays up to $7,500 in funeral expenses to surviving family members. The deceased’s spouse may also be entitled to benefits for educational expenses. Payments to children stop once the child reaches age 18, or age 22 if the child is a full-time student. There is no age limit on death benefits for children who are incapable of earning a living.
Workers’ compensation death benefits in Florida cannot exceed $150,000 for combined funeral costs, death benefits, and other expenses.
How to File a Claim for Death Benefits in Florida?
For a death benefit claim to be valid, the worker’s death needs to meet certain criteria. The worker’s death must have taken place within:
- One year from the date of the accident, or
- Five years from the date of the accident if a continuous disability resulted
A petition for death benefits must be filed by the dependent within two years of the date the dependent knows or should know that the deceased’s death was due to a work-related injury or illness. A claim for workers’ compensation death benefits must be filed with the Florida Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims.
Contact our attorneys at Gordon & Partners to Learn More
If someone you love has passed away due to work-related injuries or illness, you may be eligible for death benefits through the Florida workers’ compensation system. Our attorneys can review your claim and assist you in filing for these benefits.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today to find out if you qualify. There are no upfront fees and you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.