California continues to be one of the states most affected by the Coronavirus, with more than 3 million people infected and around 35 thousand deaths.
Sadly, many of the people who have died have contracted the virus at work or through work-related travel. For this reason, it is essential that you are aware that if any member of your family contracts COVID-19 and you believe it was due to exposure at work, a legal process can be started to claim the benefits that the law protects.
If a family member dies as a victim of this disease, leaving you as a survivor, you can appeal for death benefits. The claim process can be generated under two scenarios.
The first scenario is that their employer or insurer accepts a COVID-19 workers’ compensation claim while your family member is still alive. Once the person is deceased, medical evidence will be required to support that death was indeed the result of the disease. This is the process we recommend since you should immediately be eligible to receive death benefits as long as you meet the following eligibility requirements (these requirements vary by state):
- Benefits are reserved for family members related to the deceased by blood or marriage (they can be spouses, children, and other close relatives) who lived and depended on the deceased’s income for their support.
- Children under the age of 18 are almost always considered dependents, as are people who have physical or mental disabilities that prevent them from supporting themselves financially.
- Certain states recognize children over the age of 18 (through age 21 or 25) who are enrolled in qualified vocational educational programs.
- In many states, spouses are considered dependents even though they have their own income. In other states, spouses do not qualify if they earn a certain amount of money, although they can appeal, proving their financial dependence regardless of how much they earn.
There are other eligibilities, but it will depend on the case and the state.
The second scenario is when the employer rejects the claim because there was no time to complete the claim process. In this case, it will be a battle to obtain the benefits unless the person affected has been a front line worker. The person making the claim must also meet the requirements to be eligible as a death beneficiary.
If you have questions or need legal representation, contact us today, and we will gladly support you.