New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Dependent Benefits
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In New Jersey, if an employee is killed or dies as a result of the work- related injuries or exposure, his or her dependents may be entitled to receive dependency benefits.
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Eligibility for Dependency Benefits
Spouses and Dependent Children
Presumed to be dependents entitled to dependency benefits are the employee’s surviving spouse and natural children who were a part of the employee’s household at the time of death.
A surviving spouse and natural children who were not a part of the employee’s household at the time of his or her death and all other alleged dependents (parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc.) must prove actual dependency.
Dependent children will continue to be entitled to receive dependency benefits until they turn 18, or they are a full-time student, until they turn 23. In addition, the physical or mental disability of a child may also extend the entitlement to dependency benefits.
How death benefits are calculated
The weekly benefits payments due to the dependents total 70% of the average weekly wage of the deceased worker, up to the maximum annual benefit established annually by New Jersey’s Commissioner of Labor. The total dependency benefit amount is divided by the surviving dependents as determined by a judge after a hearing on extent of dependency.
Eligibility for Dependency and Death Benefits
Eligibility for dependency benefits arises upon the death of a worker that is caused by a work-related injury or illness, whether death occurs immediately or after a period of disability.
In New Jersey, the employer or its insurance carrier is responsible to pay up to $3,500 in funeral expenses for a job-related death, which is payable to whoever paid the funeral bill, whether that be the estate of the deceased worker or another individual.
One purpose of workers’ compensation programs is to provide support to those family members who were dependent upon the injured worker killed in work-related accidents. States recognize this as a significant purpose of the program, and continue to provide, albeit to a varied extent, support to those survivors.
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