What Are New York State Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits?

New York Workers' Compensation Law 2016In New York State, relatives can receive death benefits if their loved one dies at work. A surviving spouse, children, siblings, or the residual estate of the deceased can receive death benefits. However, death benefits do not flow automatically to the decedent’s survivors.

First, it must be established that the death occurred as a result of or in the course of the deceased’s employment. In addition, the death must have occurred from a compensable injury, or an injury that is covered under New York Workers’ Compensation law.

The law is codified as Workers’ Compensation Law Article 2, §16.
If an individual dies at work from a compensable injury and that injury arose out of the deceased person’s course of employment then his or her dependents might be entitled to receive weekly benefits as a result. The weekly benefits would be equal to two-thirds (2/3) of the decedent’s average weekly wage for the year prior to the death. The weekly benefit amount is capped at a certain amount and therefore any benefits that the family receives cannot exceed a statutory maximum amount despite the number of dependents that remain.

If a person dies at work from a compensable injury and that person does not have any surviving, immediate family or relatives such a spouse, children, grandchildren, or siblings, then the decedent’s surviving parents or estate would be able to receive a lump sum payment of $50,000 along with money to cover funeral expenses amounting to either $6,000 or $5,000 depending upon where they lived. Although death is always a traumatic event and one that changes the lives of the deceased’s family forever, the law in New York may provide the families of people who die in the course of their employment with some financial respite to help get them through the loss.

Joseph Melchionne is an associate attorney at Lois LLC where he defends employers and carrier in New York workers’ compensation claims. Joseph can be reached directly at jmelchionne@lois-llc.com or 201-880-7213.