Surviving family members can file workers’ compensation claims

Worker's Compensation
By Goodwin Como, P.C.

Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system is relatively thorough and helps to protect workers from the financial consequences of injuries or illnesses they acquire because of their employment. Jobs of any kind can pose risks to workers.

In some cases, workers can wind up so severely hurt or sick and that they can no longer continue their job. Unfortunately, there are also even worse cases where workers die as a result of their employment, leaving their families struggling with both grief and financial hardship.

Thankfully, the workers’ compensation system in Pennsylvania includes survival benefits, also sometimes called death benefits, for dependent family members after a workplace illness or injury claims someone’s life.

What benefits can family members request?

Taking benefits as a surviving family member who has lost a loved one to a workplace injury or illness will require the submission of an application and likely additional paperwork. Provided that the state reviews and approves your claim, your family can potentially seek several different benefits.

First, workers’ compensation can offer medical compensation for any care your loved one received prior to their death. Additionally, the state offers a flat reimbursement of $3,000 for funeral or burial expenses incurred by the family.

Beyond that, you can, theoretically, also receive a portion of your loved one’s average weekly wages prior to their death. It’s important to note that the state does have a maximum benefit, so the portion of wages you receive may be lower if your loved one earned extremely high wages prior to their passing.

Seeking workers’ compensation benefits isn’t shameful or crass

There are people who might think that claiming workers’ compensation after the death of a loved one is a way to benefit from that death. In reality, those benefits can only offset a fraction of the impact that your loss will have had on your family.

Your right to claim compensation after your loved one dies due to a workplace illness or injury exists for a reason. Your family will have verifiable financial consequences related to that loss, possibly for the rest of your life. Getting the benefits you need to minimize that loss makes total sense and aligns with your loved one’s desire to support your family.