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Workers' compensation benefits in Texas for death and burial

When people lose a member of their family because of a workplace accident, they could be entitled to death and burial benefits under workers' compensation, assuming the employer has coverage. Those who could be eligible include the deceased worker's spouse or dependent children, grandchildren, siblings, parents or grandparents. When there is no spouse or dependent relatives to claim benefits, non-dependent parents may be eligible.

Dependents who want to claim death benefits have to file the DWC Form-042 and send it to the Division of Workers' Compensation before the one-year anniversary of the worker's death. A duplicate of the death certificate needs to be attached along with copies of other documents that might help establish eligibility such a marriage or birth certificates. Death-benefit payments are usually 75 percent of the average weekly wage of the deceased worker.

The death benefits are divided between the dependents, and the duration of the payments depends on their relationship to the deceased. A spouse usually receives the payments for life or until remarriage. Children typically receive death benefits until they turn 18 or 25 provided they remain full-time students.

The person who paid for the burial of the worker could be eligible for reimbursement of up to $6,000 in reasonable expenses. The workers' compensation insurance carrier takes care of the reimbursement, but the individual making the claim has to submit a request with the company. The person needs to attach the bills that show the funeral, transport and any other burial expenses.

Dependents who are unsure about whether they are eligible for benefits could contact the insurance provider or the Office of Injured Employee Counsel for assistance. If they are worried about how their claims are being processed or are being denied benefits, the dependents may speak with an attorney.

Source: Office of Injured Employee Counsel, "Death and Burial Benefits", November 01, 2011

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