According to the TDI (Texas Department of Insurance), death benefits help families replace some of the money lost when an employee dies because of a work-related injury or illness.
Who can get death and burial benefits, and for how long?
- A surviving spouse can get death benefits for the rest of their life, unless they remarry. If there are dependent children when the employee dies, the children get half the benefits, and the spouse gets the other half.
- A surviving spouse who remarries will get a lump sum payment equal to two years of benefits. If there are dependent children who still qualify for the death benefit after those two years, the entire benefit will be divided equally among the dependent children (if there is more than one child).
- A surviving spouse of a first responder (as defined by Labor Code §504.055) who remarries is still able to get death benefits for the rest of their life. The lump-sum payment does not apply to a surviving spouse of a first responder, and the surviving spouse’s benefits are not affected if they remarry.
- A child can get death benefits up to age 18; or until age 25 if the child is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university. If there is more than one eligible child, benefits are re-distributed equally among the remaining eligible children when one or more are no longer eligible. Children 18 or older must show proof of enrollment to remain eligible.
- A child with physical or mental disability who is a dependent on the date the employee died may get death benefits until the child dies or no longer has the disability. The custodian of an eligible child with a physical or mental disability must provide the insurance carrier with proof of the disability for the rest of the child’s life.
- An adult child who is a dependent of the deceased employee for a reason other than physical or mental disability may be able to get death benefits for 364 weeks after the death of the employee. An eligible adult child claiming death benefits must provide proof, such as medical records, to continue to get benefits.
- Grandchildren may be able to get death benefits if they were at least 20% dependent on the employee at the time of death, unless the grandchild’s parent is eligible for the benefit. An eligible grandchild can get death benefits until age 18. A grandchild who is eligible for death benefits and who is not a minor at the time of the employee’s death, is able to get no more than 364 weeks of death benefits.
- Other dependent family members, such as a dependent parent, stepparent, sibling, or grandparent of the deceased employee, may also be able to get death benefits, but only if there is no eligible surviving spouse, child, or grandchild. The time limit on benefits is 364 weeks.
- Non-dependent parents may qualify as eligible beneficiaries if there is no eligible surviving spouse, child or grandchild, and there are no surviving dependents who are parents, siblings, or grandparents of the deceased. Those benefits are limited to 104 weeks.
- If there are no eligible beneficiaries, or the current beneficiaries are no longer eligible and the insurance carrier has not paid at least 364 weeks of benefits, remaining benefits are paid to the Subsequent Injury Fund, administered by DWC.