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How workers' compensation protects families after a work fatality

When you kiss a loved one goodbye and send them off to work, you assume they will come home safely at the end of the day. Sadly, people do die on the job in Illinois despite workplace safety standards. There are many different kinds of jobs that pose risks to workers, from construction work to delivery driving.

Regardless of what kind of career your loved one had, losing someone to a work injury or illness can utterly change your life. If the death was the result of an accident, you likely did not have the opportunity to seek closure with your loved one before they passed on. Even in cases where you saw your loved one again before they died, a work-related loss can leave a particularly large hole in your heart and cause financial distress.

After all, your loved one was probably working so hard to help support you and your family. Thankfully, the state of Illinois will help uphold that legacy of care by offering your family death benefits in the wake of a work-related fatality.

What benefits can your family expect to receive through workers' compensation?

There are several kinds of workers' compensation benefits available to surviving family members after a fatal work accident or a work-related illness that proves fatal. The first is a burial benefit. Either surviving dependents or the executor of an estate responsible for managing the funeral of the deceased worker will receive up to $8,000 in compensation from Illinois workers' compensation to offset the cost of the funeral and burial.

If your loved one received medical care prior to dying, workers' compensation should also cover those medical expenses. Of course, your family will experience a financial impact that persists for some time beyond the death of your loved one. After all, they were likely one of the major wage earners in the house. Illinois workers' compensation will provide your family with a portion of their weekly income to offset that loss.

Understanding how much you will receive under the death benefit program

Workers in different fields make vastly different amounts of money. Therefore, it makes sense that the state does not offer a flat rate death benefit for surviving family members. Instead, they base the benefit on the income of the deceased.

Surviving spouses, children and parents could potentially receive up to two-thirds of the deceased employee's weekly wages. However, there is a cap on those wages based on the state average income. Until January 14, 2019, the minimum weekly death benefit is $555.05. The payment caps out at $1,480.12. Family members typically receive these benefits for either 25 years or $500,000 -- whichever is higher.

While no amount of money can undo the damage that a workplace fatality causes to your family, Illinois state workers' compensation death benefits can at least help your family mitigate the worst of the financial consequences of your loss.

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