Survivor benefits & Missouri workers' compensation law: Who is eligible?

guidance-911950-m.jpgAs Missouri workers' compensation lawyers, we know that the aftermath of a fatal workplace accident can be a confusing and traumatic time for the victim's loved ones. We also know that sometimes people do not receive benefits they are entitled to under Missouri law simply because they are not aware that they are eligible for those benefits. In this post, we want to discuss the importance of listing your next of kin or who to contact in case of emergency in your employment personnel records.

According to Missouri workers' compensation laws, if a family member dies in a work related accident, the employer/insurer must pay as much as five thousand dollars for burial costs. In addition, the surviving spouse or other dependents are eligible for two thirds of the victim's wages for a specific period of time.

When the Division of Workers' Compensation is informed of any worker's death, the process is set into motion: the Division will notify the family of the deceased about their rights to compensation under the law. However, they will only notify the surviving family if they are told by the employer that there are indeed eligible dependents.

Employers are required by law to keep records for every employee. When you begin a new job, you should be asked to provide an emergency contact for your employer to keep on file. Unfortunately, according to the Division of Workers' Compensation, some employers don't always keep such records. When discovered, some of these negligent employers have faced serious legal consequences: not complying with this law is considered workers' compensation fraud. To make sure your dependents are protected, you should make sure your employer has your next of kin and emergency contact information on file.

Who is eligible for survivor benefits under Missouri law?

It is not only surviving spouses who are eligible for survivor benefits. Anyone who is considered dependent upon the deceased for their livelihood, such as underage children, or elderly, dependent parents, may also be eligible, depending on the circumstances.