Your husband was awarded benefits for an injury he sustained on the job. Those payments supported not only him while he could not work but you and your children as well. You are worried about supporting your family without those workers’ comp benefits. Unfortunately, unless your husband was killed on the job—or died from an injury or illness he developed on the job—you will not be eligible for ongoing workers’ comp survivor benefits. However, while cannot continue collecting his regular benefit payments, you may receive any accrued benefits. We explain what that means and how it differs from workers’ comp survivor benefits here.
What Are Accrued Benefits?
If an injured worker receiving temporary total disability or permanent partial disability compensation dies before collecting the total benefit award, his or her dependents may file to collect the unpaid part of the award. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) calls these accrued compensation benefits and pays them out to the deceased worker’s heirs according to the terms of his will or Ohio’s intestate succession laws if there is no will. Accrued benefits are paid to the deceased’s family whether or not they died because of work-related injuries.
Who Can Collect Accrued Benefits in Ohio?
Because accrued benefits essentially already belong to the worker—they just haven’t been paid yet—they will be paid directly to the deceased’s dependents, including a spouse and children; to the deceased’s estate if there are no surviving dependents; or to third parties making a claim on the funds for unpaid services related to the death. The BWC requires the following documentation:
- A dependent must provide proof of dependency.
- A medical provider (or individual who rendered or paid for services pertaining to the injured worker’s death) must provide an invoice, proof of payment, or other credible documentation.
- The executor of an injured worker’s estate must provide proof of executor status and the estate’s tax identification number.
The Claims Service Specialist assigned to the case can tell interested parties how much compensation has accrued and what they will be paid following a successful claim. To request the benefit, you must apply for accrued compensation to the BWC within two years of the deceased’s date of death. A workers’ comp attorney can be a great asset in making sure the application is properly completed and submitted and that deadlines are met.
What if Your Husband Died on the Job?
Accrued benefits are available to survivors despite the cause of death. For example, if your husband was collecting workers’ comp benefits when he died of a sudden heart attack at home, you would be eligible for accrued benefits. However, if your spouse died in an on-the-job accident, you would be entitled to death benefits in addition to accrued compensation. Survivor benefits are available to the surviving spouse, children under 18 or who are full-time students, and disabled dependents. These benefits will continue for as long as the dependents qualify. This benefit does not happen automatically; you must apply to the BWC, and it is highly recommended that you discuss the process with an attorney.
Get Help From Monast Law Office
Your husband worked hard to provide for his family. After an on-the-job injury left him unable to work, he provided through his earned workers’ comp benefits. Now that he is gone, you might still get some support from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
With over 30 years of experience as a workers' comp attorney in Ohio, I have helped many surviving family members get the accrued compensation and death benefits they deserved. Contact Monast Law Office to discover how we can help you. Learn more by requesting a free copy of our book, The Worker's Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio, then fill out our online contact form or call our Upper Arlington office at 614-334-4649 to get started.