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Am I Entitled to Death Benefits Under Workers’ Compensation?

August 21, 2020

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you just suffered an incredible loss. Our hearts are with you and your family at this difficult time and we are incredibly sorry for your loss. 

At the Epstein Law Firm, P.A., we understand just how devastating the loss of a loved one can be. While nothing can ever replace the one you lost, losing someone can have a catastrophic effect on your family’s ability to get by financially. Below, we address some commonly asked questions regarding an individual’s eligibility for death benefits, how long it’ll take to receive them and how a skilled and compassionate attorney can help you and your family during this difficult time. 

Who is Eligible to Receive Death Benefits in New Jersey?

Under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws, dependents are entitled to collect death benefits. A dependant is classified as any of the following:

  • A surviving spouse and any dependent children who were living in the same household as the worker at the time of his or her death
  • A civil union partner
  • A surviving spouse and dependent children who were not living in the same household at the time of his or her death
  • Children under the age of 18 years old
  • Children, aged 23 and under, who are enrolled in college full-time 

A dependent child who has a cognitive or physical impairment may be entitled to additional benefits. Relatives such as parents or siblings must prove their dependency on the worker in order to qualify for benefits. 

Are There Exceptions to Who Can Collect Death Benefits?

Yes, there are. If the surviving spouse remarries or did not share children with the deceased, they may only be able to collect death benefits for up to two years after the date of death. Other exclusions apply for surviving spouses who left the deceased more than a year before the workplace injury or if they left after the accident occurred; in these cases, the surviving spouse is usually not entitled to collect death benefits. This also applies if the surviving spouse and deceased were married after the accident occurred. 

What Kinds of Benefits Am I Entitled to?

Death benefits payments can cover up to $3,500 in funeral expenses, in addition to any approved medical bills. 

Weekly death benefits are dependent on the deceased worker’s wages, as well as how many dependents he or she had. Here is some helpful information: 

  • If the deceased had only one dependant, his or her’s compensation rate will be 50 percent of the deceased’s wages
  • The surviving spouse is only entitled to weekly payments for 450 weeks (a little over 8 years) unless he or she remarries or passes away
  • Likewise, dependant children who have cognitive and physical impairments may also be entitled to weekly benefits for 450 weeks
  • The compensation rate increases by five percent for each additional dependent, meaning that a family of five (or more) will receive a weekly payment that is equal to 70 percent of the deceased’s original wages. 

In New Jersey, a workers’ compensation judge is the one to decide how the death benefits will be divided. It’s important to note that the Commission of Labor sets a maximum weekly payment each year. As of 2020, the maximum weekly amount is $969.00, with a minimum of $258.00. 

If you have any questions about collecting death benefits in New Jersey, the Epstein Law Firm, P.A. can help you. Our firm is available by phone; give us a call today: 201-231-7847. 

Contact A Rochelle Park Workers’ Compensation Lawyer To Discuss Your New Jersey Death Benefits Questions

If you have questions about collecting death benefits in New Jersey, the experienced and compassionate attorneys at the Epstein Law Firm, P.A. can help. We represent clients in Hackensack, Paramus, Englewood, Fair Lawn and throughout New Jersey. We understand that this time for you and your family is extremely difficult and we will work with you to help alleviate any financial stress you may be experiencing as a result of this loss. Call 201-231-7847 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation about your questions. Our main office is located at 340 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ 07662.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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"The Epstein Law Firm recently obtained a multi-million dollar settlement in an extremely complex and difficult financial services case. He and his team not only mastered the complex issues in the case, but also expertly handled all aspects of the negotiations. I cannot thank Michael enough for his dedication and hard work, and I highly recommend him and The Epstein Law Firm for those who need smart, creative, and aggressive lawyers who put their clients’ interests first.”

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