Who are Workers’ Compensation Dependents for the Purposes of Death Benefits in NC?

Posted on Friday, August 28th, 2015 at 10:31 am    

Those who are considered a dependent for worker’s compensation purposes are not necessarily going to be the same as for other situations. There are separate laws for when someone dies with a will, without a will, through the wrongful death of another and through a work-related injury or illness. Do not assume that because you are a dependent for one situation that you will be a dependent for worker’s compensation death cases. And don’t assume the opposite either – meaning that if you’re not a dependent for non-work matters that you won’t be a dependent for a worker’s compensation case.

Eligibility for benefits can vary depending on whether the death is related to the work injury or occupational illness or not related. But the share of benefits is tied to the date of death of the worker.

Persons Wholly Dependent: These are people who were entirely dependent on the deceased worker at the time of the accident. Whole dependents combined get all of the benefits to the exclusion of everyone else. Widows, widowers and minor children are presumed to be wholly dependent.

Partially Dependent: The share of the partially dependent person is dependent first on whether there are any persons who are wholly dependent. If so, the partially dependent people get nothing.

If there are more than one partially dependent person, the amount available is divided among them  on a pro rata basis, comparing how much money the deceased gave to the support of the partial dependent to the amount of the deceased employee’s annual earnings at the time of the accident. This ratio is then applied to the weekly payment to determine the amount the partially dependent person will get. For example, if a worker earns $600 a week, the 2/3rds adjustment is $400 a week. If there is just one partially dependent person and that person’s ratio compared to the other partially dependent folks is 3/4, then the partially dependent person gets 3/4 of $400 or $300 a week.

Joe Miller Explains the Death Benefit Dependency Laws

North Carolina has a priority schedule for disabled workers who die. The priority depends, in part, on whether the death is related to the work injury or occupational illness. It also depends on the definition of whole dependency and partial dependency. The primary aim of the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation laws is to make sure that those family members who need the support get it. Joe Miller has helped clients for over a quarter of a century. Call Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 for an appointment or email him at jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com. You can also complete the online form.