Every career choice carries some amount of risk. Those who work in construction could suffer a fall on the job that leaves them severely injured. Those who work in agriculture could suffer injuries if a tractor tips over. Even office workers and retail employees can get hurt badly on a job.
Although you knew your spouse was in a dangerous profession, you probably assumed that their skill and the safety measures taken by their employer would keep them safe. Losing a loved one unexpectedly due to a workplace accident can completely change the course of your life. Your financial prospects and those of your children will suffer as a result of your loss. You will also have the difficult process of grieving an unexpected loss.
It may be impossible for you to imagine what your future will look like in the days right after losing a spouse to a workplace tragedy. Can you rely on Iowa workers’ compensation to help support you during this difficult time?
There are survival benefits available for family members after a fatal accident
Workers’ compensation doesn’t just cover the medical costs that your loved one incurred before their death due to an injury on the job. It will also help cover the cost of funeral and burial expenses. Death benefits typically offer up to $7,500 for such expenses.
Your family can also expect to receive ongoing death benefits. You will receive a portion of your loved one’s wages like you would have received if they merely suffered severe injuries and required disability benefits. Usually, this will mean receiving about 80% of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum benefit amount.
As a spouse, you can receive those benefits for life or until you remarry. Your children also have a claim to benefits until they turn 18 or 25 if they attend college. If you have children with special needs, they may qualify to continue receiving benefits for the rest of their lives.
How do you connect with workers’ compensation as a surviving dependent?
Benefits are not automatic even though you have a right to claim them. You will have to submit an application and then possibly provide follow-up documentation if necessary.
Delaying the application process can be a big mistake, as the time may pass more quickly than you imagine while you try to adjust to your new life. The statute of limitations for benefits expires in most cases three years after the date of your loved one’s death. Applying early and with help can increase your chances of getting the benefits your family needs.