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Can the spouse of a deceased worker get benefits?

If your loved one dies because of a work-related accident or illness in Virginia, you might be entitled to death benefits through workers’ compensation. In Virginia, death benefits are paid to eligible survivors based on the deceased employee’s prior earnings. This article explains who is eligible for death benefits, how much you might receive and for how long, and how to file your claim.

Like many other states, Virginia limits eligibility for death benefits to certain family members who depended on the deceased employee for financial support. Virginia distinguishes between family members who were totally dependent on the deceased employee for financial support and those who were partially dependent. This is important because the level of dependence determines how long benefits are paid (see below). The following family members are automatically presumed to be total dependents:

  • spouses who are financially dependent on the employee
  • children younger than 18 years old
  • children younger than 23 years old if enrolled full time at an accredited school
  • any child who is physically or mentally incapable of making a living, and
  • parents in destitute circumstances, but only if there are no dependent spouses or children.

“Children” include stepchildren, adopted children, biological children born out of wedlock, and children born after the employee’s death. However, children who are married are not eligible for death benefits. “Parents” include stepparents and adoptive parents.

Other family members may also qualify as total or partial dependents on a case-by-case basis, as long as the dependency existed for at least three months before the employee’s accident. For example, an elderly aunt who lived with the employee and relied on her entirely for support might qualify as a total dependent.

To be eligible for benefits, your loved one must have passed away within nine years of a workplace accident or illness. The accident or illness must also be the actual cause of your loved one’s death.

Attorneys You Can Trust

Our clients come first. We work hard on each and every case for the benefit of our client and his or her family. We have extensive knowledge about Virginia laws regarding injuries at work and workers’ compensation. No case is too difficult for our team. We work efficiently to achieve positive outcomes. Save yourself time by hiring someone who will work on your side in an aggressive manner. You deserve the best, and we are here to help you get your benefits.

Contact us today to schedule your first consultation. At this appointment, we will discuss your specific case and the hurdles we must overcome to get you your benefits. We will navigate the process for you, making it easy to understand. Contact us today

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