L&I Death Benefits and Survivor Pensions
In an ideal world, every workers’ comp claim would ultimately end with total recovery and the injured worker being able to work again. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If an injured worker dies as a result of their work-related injury or illness, there are certain benefits available to their surviving loved ones.
What are L&I Death Benefits?
A workplace injury or occupational disease that results in death entitles the injured worker’s spouse and dependents to an L&I Survivor Pension, also known as L&I Death Benefits. These can include a one-time lump sum payment to the deceased’s spouse or registered domestic partner, or survivor pensions in the form of monthly payments, and burial reimbursements.
Who is Eligible for Survivor Pensions?
If an injured worker dies as a result of their injury, their spouse (or registered domestic partner) and children may be eligible for survivor pensions and death benefits.
If you were married prior to the injury or illness and remained married until your death, your spouse or domestic partner would be eligible to receive any workers’ comp pensions awarded to you. Note that the pension is passed at a reduced rate and continues for the duration of the spouse’s lifetime. A pension passed to a spouse or partner does not get passed to any children upon the death of the spouse.
Pensions can also be passed to children in the event that the injured worker is single at the time of their death. Children can receive this pension until they are 18, or 23 if they are attending school full time. Totally disabled children can continue to receive a pension for the duration of their disability.
What are Burial Benefits?
L&I will pay burial benefits if an injured worker dies as a direct result of an injury or occupational disease. For example, if you died from developed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as a result of long term benzene exposure or died in a catastrophic construction accident, L&I would pay your family for the cost of the burial. The amount awarded will depend on the date of death.
How Can an L&I Attorney Help?
While death benefits and survivor pensions seem straightforward, there are a lot of things to take into consideration. If you have questions about L&I death benefits or wish to discuss your eligibility, you should contact one of our workers’ compensation attorneys. Our experienced L&I attorneys will provide a free consultation and explain your options.