Any New Jersey spouse is lucky to have a husband and wife who diligently goes to work every day to help make financial ends meet. However, some jobs come with a high level of risk. Although you might not want to think about it -- if your spouse works in construction, as a driver, or as a firefighter or police officer -- your spouse could be facing very real and present dangers every single day.
What will happen if your spouse doesn't come home one day? How will you make financial ends meet? Fortunately, if you're facing a difficult situation like this, the one saving grace is that you and your family might be able to receive workers' compensation death benefits.
What are workers' compensation wage replacement death benefits?
Death benefits are often available to the dependents of a deceased worker who died on the job. These benefits will be 70 percent the wages of the worker who died, and they will not be subject to income tax. As such, families may be able to receive close to the amount that the worker was previously generating as income each week. The 70 percent wage figure will be subject to a maximum cap that is set each year by the New Jersey Commissioner of Labor.
The dependents of the deceased will split the wage replacement benefits. Each dependent will receive a percentage share, which is calculated according to his or her level of dependency.
Dependents will typically include the current spouse who survives the worker and lives with the worker, and the worker's biological children who were living with the worker at the moment of death. As for a dependent spouse or children who didn't live with the worker, they must prove dependency in court to receive wage replacement benefits.
Dependent children can continue to receive benefits until they reach the age of 18. Or -- if they remain full-time students -- children can receive benefits until they are 23 years of age. A mentally or physically disabled child may be able to continue receiving benefits.
Learn more about your eligibility for death benefits
The State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development offers excellent information about the law as it applies to death benefits in our state. Family members pursuing workers' compensation death benefits can learn more by reaching out to an experienced law firm in the Manalapan vicinity.