Death benefits are set out in the Nebraska Work Comp Act. When a worker passes away all benefits owed to the injured worker stop. If the worker’s death was not related to the work injury then nothing more is owed. However, if the worker’s death was related to the work injury then benefits may be owed to the worker’s family.
Nebraska Work Comp Law provides for payment of burial expenses. Where an injured worker passes away due to a work injury, the employer is responsible reasonable burial expenses up to $10,000.
Death Benefits for Dependents
In addition to burial expenses a deceased worker’s family may also get benefits. The Nebraska Work Comp Act provides that dependents may receive a death benefit. Who is a dependent? A dependent may be a surviving husband or wife, children, grandchildren, bother, sister, parents and grandparents.
The amount of owed as a death benefit differs depending on who is entitled. Surviving spouses typically receive two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average wage but that amount may change if dependent children are also entitled to a death benefit. A surviving spouse may receive the death benefit until death or remarriage. Upon remarriage the surviving spouse should receive two years’ worth of indemnity benefits in one lump sum.
A dependent child is entitled to a death benefit until death, marriage, or until he or she reaches the age of nineteen. If the child is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited educational institution, then the child may receive benefits until the age of twenty-five.
Obtaining a death benefit can be tough. On top of the grief of losing a loved one, the work comp insurance carrier may not be willing to pay a death benefit. It is the deceased worker’s family that has the burden of proving the death was related to the work injury. This can be very difficult in some situations. Families that have lost a loved one in a work injury should get help to make sure their rights are protected and their recovery is maximized.