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Death Benefits

Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss death benefits to families who have lost a loved one in a workplace accident. Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. In Delaware, Workers’ Compensation coverage is mandatory. Employers with one or more employees must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance.

This system, created by the Delaware Legislature, provides benefits to workers who are injured or develop a chronic ailment as a result of working on the job. Farmers are exempt from this law; however, employers may opt to provide coverage. Workers with independent contract status, rather than employee status, are also not covered.

Eligibility for Death Benefits

Also, under Delaware Workers’ Compensation law, when a work-related accident or illness results in the death of an employee, eligible family members receive death benefits based on the prior earnings of the deceased employee.

Death benefits are earmarked for compensation for certain family members for the loss of financial support provided by the deceased employee.

Benefits are paid, in the following order of priority, to:

    • Surviving spouses and children
    • Parents who depended on the employee for at least half of their financial support
    • Siblings who depended on the employee for at least half of their financial support

Children and siblings, or dependents, must be:

  • Unmarried
  • Under the age of 18
  • Full-time student until the age of 25
  • Permanently disabled, regardless of age, with a disability that began before the age of 18

For a surviving spouse to be eligible for benefits, spouse must have lived with the employee or were receiving, or had the right to receive, support at the time of death.

Payment Amounts for Death Benefits

To receive death benefits, the surviving spouse must file a Workers’ Compensation claim through a Workers’ Compensation attorney. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board will approve or deny the claim.

Payment amounts are based on percentages:

  • A spouse is eligible for 66.667 percent of the wage of the employee
  • A spouse and children are eligible for 80 percent of the wage of the employee
  • Children, but no spouse, are eligible to receive 66.667 percent, plus an additional 10 percent for each child in excess of two children, not to exceed 80 percent
  • No spouse, children, or dependent parents are eligible to receive 20 percent
  • No spouse, children, dependent parents, or dependent sibling is eligible for 15 percent and increases to 5 percent for each additional sibling, not to exceed 25 percent

The minimum weekly benefit is $203.27 and cannot be less than 22.222 percent. The maximum weekly benefit is $609.82. The maximum burial allowance is $700. Burial expenses over $700 are payable if there are no dependents and if the Industrial Accident Board approves it.

Children receive benefits until they turn 18. If the surviving spouse remarries, weekly benefits cease; however, a widow receives a two-year lump sum.

Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Handle Claims Related to Death Benefits

If your loved one died from a work-related injury or illness, contact a Delaware workplace injury lawyer from McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC for help. Our Delaware office is conveniently located in the historic courthouse. We serve clients in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, including Chester County, Delaware County and Montgomery County. Call 302-888-1221 or contact us online for a free consultation.