The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act – Death Benefits
If a maritime employee’s death was caused by a work-related injury, the employee’s widow, widower or other eligible survivor may recover death benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. The widow, widower or survivor may also recover funeral expenses of up to $3,000.
A widow or widower is entitled to 50% of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage for life or until remarriage. The widow or widower may recover additional compensation if he or she has children. Upon remarriage, the widow or widower will receive a lump sum payment covering two years.
If children are the sole survivors of a deceased employee, 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage is paid on behalf of the first child. If more than one child is entitled to death benefits, the children may recover a maximum of 66 2/3% of the employee’s average weekly wage, which is shared equally.
Parents, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren who were dependent on the deceased employee may be eligible survivors under the Act.
Death benefits to children, siblings and grandchildren will terminate when they reach the age of 18. However, the benefits may be extended until the age of 23 if the beneficiary is a student. Benefits may continue indefinitely if a child remains incapable of self-support due to mental or physical disabilities.
In computing death benefits, the average weekly wage of the deceased employee is considered to have been not less than the National Average Weekly Wage (NAWW) applicable at the time of the employee’s death. The total amount of death benefits may not exceed 200% of the NAWW applicable at the time of the employee’s death, or the employee’s average weekly wage, whichever is less.
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