Who is eligible for death benefits under the PA WC Act?

Generally speaking, a dependent of the deceased injured worker is entitled to death benefits under Section 307 of the Pa WC Act. Dependents usually include widows or widowers and children of the deceased worker. But, under some circumstances it can also include a mother, father or, even a brother or sister.

The injured worker’s death must have occurred within the course and scope of his employment before the right to death benefits is triggered. Then the status of the dependent is determined at the time of the injured worker’s death. Dependency is presumed if the wife and children were living with the deceased worker at the time of death. The eligibility of a mother, father, brother or sister is only activated if there is no widow or widower and, no dependent children.

The amount of the death benefit is specifically outlined in Section 307 of the Act. The amount varies depending on which dependent is available to receive the death benefit and, the number of children who are dependents of the deceased worker.

There are limits on the length of time a widow or widower can receive death benefits, as well as the length of time the deceased worker’s children can receive death benefits, though there is a special exception for disabled children.

There is also a funeral expense allowance of up to $3,000.00.

This is just a broad overview of death benefits available under the Pa WC Act. Anyone who believes that they might be entitled to death benefits, MUST speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer so that you fully understand your rights. After all, you owe it to your deceased loved-one to get every benefit available under the Act for this ultimate tragedy.