In Minnesota, the relatives of workers who die as a result of workplace injuries can receive dependency benefits. These benefits aim to compensate the relatives for the loss of the worker and make up for lost income. In some situations, partial dependents can receive dependency benefits.
The law considers “actual dependents” to be family members who were wholly supported by a deceased worker at the time he or she died and for a reasonable time before he or she died. These family members can include the spouse, children, parents, grandparents, siblings, or parents-in-law of the worker. When the worker partially supported a family member at the time he or she died and for a reasonable time before he or she died, the family member is a “partial dependent”. (Minn. Stat. § 176.111, subd. 3-4.)
Calculating dependency benefits for a partial dependent is somewhat complicated. Partial dependents will receive lower benefit payments than actual dependents because the worker did not fully support them. Usually, this means that the worker provided some financial support but the partial dependent had other sources of income.
To determine the amount of dependency benefits for a partial dependent, the court will compare the dependent’s total income prior to the injury to the amount of income the deceased worker provided to the dependent. (Minn. Stat. § 176.111, subd. 17.) For example, the worker may have paid for 50% of the dependent’s expenses, while the dependent received government benefits that covered the other 50%. Often, the amount of financial support that the worker provided varied over time. In that case, the court will take the average of the contributions the worker made to the dependent’s income. If the court cannot determine exactly how much the worker contributed, it will make a reasonable estimate for purposes of awarding benefits.
Like actual dependent benefits, partial dependent benefits are awarded to various people depending on the worker’s family composition at the time of injury. The actual amount of benefits will depend on which family members survive the worker and on whether those family members are actual or partial dependents.
The insurance company must cover the cost of burial for an employee whose death was work-related. The employee’s estate will receive a $60,000 payment as well. Partial dependents may benefit from these payments, especially if they stand to inherit from the estate. If you believe that you are a partial dependent of a deceased worker, consider speaking to a workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure you get the compensation you are due.
Need help getting workers’ compensation dependency benefits after the work-related death of a family member? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.