If a worker dies as the result of a work related injury, illness or disease, the surviving spouse, children and certain "dependents" are eligible for payment of limited burial expenses and compensation. With few exceptions the work-related injury, illness or disease need not be "the" cause of the death as long as it is a "contributing," "aggravating" or "accelerating" cause.

The amount of the burial allowance is set by statute. The amount of compensation for the spouse and/or dependents is based on the AMW of the deceased worker on the date of injury. The benefits for the surviving spouse continue until remarriage with a lump sum bonus equivalent to 24 months of compensation being paid upon remarriage. Dependent children's benefits continue to age 18 or age 22 if the child is in an accredited educational institution.

Benefits may also be paid to parents or brothers and sisters dependent on the deceased worker at the time of injury or possibly even at the time of death. The amount paid is again based on the worker's AMW, the number of dependents and whether those dependents were wholly or partially dependent on that worker.

Benefits paid to an alien not residing in the United States will be reduced to 60% of the normal benefits.

At the present time it is unlikely that persons living together or living with the deceased worker who were not married or related to the deceased worker at the time of injury or death would be considered dependents or be entitled to benefits. If you have any questions about this complicated area of the law, you should contact an attorney.