Posted On: January 22, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Understanding Death/Survivors’ Benefits Under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law

If someone in your family has died in an Illinois work accident, you are not allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit against his or her employer. You may, however, be entitled to death/survivors’ benefits.

In Illinois, these benefits include:
• $8,000 burial benefit
• 66 2/3% of the deceased workers’ weekly income for the 52 weeks leading up to the work injury. This amount is subject to maximum and minimum limits. Barring a reduction for partially dependent individuals, the minimum benefit for survivors cannot be lower than 50% of the Illinois average weekly wage at the time the accident occurred. The maximum benefit cannot exceed 133 1/3% of the SAWW when the injury accident happened. The benefit will be paid either as (the greater of) $500,000 or in weekly increments for 25 years.

Workers' Compensation Beneficiaries
A deceased workers’ husband, wife, or children are considered the primary beneficiaries to any death/survivors’ benefits. If the employee had no primary beneficiaries, then dependent parents are entitled to these benefits. If there are no dependent parents, then anyone who was at least 50% dependent on the worker can claim death benefits.

In the event that the deceased worker’s widow or widower remarries, the eligible surviving children will continue to receive benefits. If the deceased worker did not leave behind any children, then the spouse would be given a final payment equivalent to two years of workers’ compensation.

It is hard enough to lose a loved one without having the additional burden of struggling financially because you’ve also lost your primary source of financial support.

Related Web Resources:
Handbook on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Diseases, Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (PDF)

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Steve Malman can make sure that you and your family receive all the death/survivors' benefits owed to you by your loved one’s employer.

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