Nothing is more shocking than learning that a spouse is killed in an accident. When the death occurs at work, it is possible for a surviving spouse or other family members to receive workers’ compensation in North Carolina benefits if the accident was job-related. These are called death benefits.
In the aftermath of your loss, the process of applying for death benefits may seem overwhelming. Let a sympathetic workers’ compensation lawyer from Stewart Law Offices help. Death benefits can provide financial security and allow you to grieve without worrying about how you’re going to pay the bills.
Call or contact us today for a private, free consultation with a N.C. workers’ compensation lawyer.
What are Death Benefits?
Death benefits are monies paid to eligible spouses and relatives after losing a loved one from a job-related injury or illness. In North Carolina, death benefits provide:
- Two-thirds of the deceased worker’s annual weekly wage at the time of the accident for 500 weeks
- Burial expenses up to $10,000
There are certain caps depending on the year of death and a minimum of $30 per week. Weekly benefits are adjusted annually by the N.C. Industrial Commission. You can view the current rate chart here.
Who Can Get Death Benefits?
There is an order of priority for who can receive death benefits in North Carolina:
- Benefits are first awarded to those who are “wholly dependent” on the deceased worker. Examples of beneficiaries include spouses, minor children, and others who can prove they were fully dependent on the worker prior to his or her death. In cases where there are multiple parties who are wholly dependent, death benefits are distributed equally to each beneficiary.
- If there are no wholly dependent survivors, then benefits are split between any partially dependent survivors. Death benefits are paid based on the amount of support that the decedent provided to them.
- f there are no whole or partial dependents, death benefits are paid to surviving next of kin in a lump sum.
Under the law, spouses are assumed to be wholly dependent survivors. If you have any questions about your eligibility for death benefits, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help determine whether you qualify.
How Do I Apply for Death Benefits?
Applying for death benefits is a deadline-oriented process. You have 30 days to provide notice of the death, in writing, to the employer. This must be done even if the employer is already aware of the loss. You will need to file a Form 18 — Notice of Accident to Employer with the N.C. Industrial Commission. If your loved one died from an occupational lung condition, such as asbestosis, silicosis, and byssinosis, you will need to file Form 18B instead.
Generally, you have two years from the date of your spouse’s death to apply for benefits.
Get Support from Stewart Law Offices in North Carolina
At Stewart Law Offices, we want to alleviate whatever burdens we can after your husband or wife’s workplace death. Take comfort in knowing that we can handle all aspects of applying for death benefits for you. While we work on submitting the paperwork to the N.C. Industrial Commission, you can focus on what really matters — taking the time to grieve in peace.
A free consultation with our law firm will be concise, confidential, and compassionate. Call or contact us today to get started.