It is something we don’t want to think about happening, but it can be an unfortunate reality for many. If your spouse was part of an accident at work that resulted in their death, it can be devastation incarnate. A piece of your family is gone, and yet you also have to worry about the dramatic loss of income during an already difficult time. You can’t put a monetary value on a life, but sometimes you have to in order to keep your family pressing forward.

In Minnesota, the state has made sure that the surviving families are taken care of. The state mandates that a minimum amount of compensation, which is $60,000 must be paid to the surviving family However, depending on your family situation, you may be able to get more compensation to help make the grieving process just a little easier.

So what worker’s death benefits will you have available to you? It all depends on how many surviving relatives the worker had.

Spouse with No Dependent Children – If the worker has a spouse but no children below the age of 18, the spouse is entitled to receive 50 percent of the worker’s weekly wages for the next ten years. Even if the spouse decides to remarry in the future, they will continue to receive the wages, which will be adjusted for inflation over that period, but not above six percent.

Spouse with Dependent Children – If the deceased has both a spouse and a dependent child, together they will receive 60 percent of the worker’s wages until the child reaches the age of 18 or is otherwise not dependent. The spouse will continue to receive payments for the standards ten years, but they will be reduced by 16 and 2/3 percent while the dependent child will start to receive amount deemed appropriate by a judge. If the worker leaves behind more than one child, the percentage will go up depending on the number of children.

Orphaned Child – If a worker dies on the job and does not have a spouse, but leaves behind an orphaned child, they will receive 55 percent of the worker’s weekly wages. If there is more than one orphaned child, the percentage will go up. However, depending on the age of the orphaned child, a guardian may be appointed ad litem to make sure that their money is protected.

Dependent Parents – If the deceased worker had no spouse or children to receive benefits, but their parents were dependent on their income, they can receive a percentage of the worker’s death benefit compensation. For two surviving and dependent parents, they will receive 45 percent of the worker’s weekly wages. For one surviving dependent parent, the percentage goes down to 35 percent. There is also statutory provisions for parents that were only partially dependent. However, the payout cannot exceed the actual amount that the worker was paying for the parent’s support.

Other Relatives – In some situations, a percentage of worker’s weekly wages can be paid out to other relatives including grandchildren, siblings, and even in-laws, but only if they were dependent on the worker at the time of their death.

While Minnesota’s worker’s death benefits are better laid out that some other states, they can occasionally be hard to navigate. If you are part of the surviving family of a worker killed while on the job, you may be eligible for more compensation than you think, but the grieving process is difficult enough. If you need help, but don’t know where to turn, contact us. The Meshbesher Law Firm can take some of the hassles out of navigating death benefits so you can truly begin to heal from your loss.