One of the main reasons people pursue careers that pay well is to provide financial security for the people they love. Some professionals will even go into particularly dangerous careers or industries because they offer more competitive wages and a higher standard of living.

Unfortunately, those very same dependents can be left in a relatively vulnerable position if a workplace accident causes a fatality or if environmental exposure to dangerous materials sickens someone and eventually claims their life. Those who die because of work-related issues often leave behind people who depended on them financially and socially.

If you are dealing with a serious work-related illness that you fear may become fatal or if you have recently lost a loved one to workplace accidents, understanding how South Carolina provides for surviving dependents through workers’ compensation after a workplace fatality could help you.

Surviving family members can claim financial death benefits

South Carolina workers’ compensation insurance program offers specific benefits to those who have lost a loved one due to a tragic accident or illness stemming from their profession. These so-called death benefits serve as protection against the dire financial implications of losing a family member.

The standard for death benefits in South Carolina is currently 500 weeks of the deceased’s standard wages based on their average weekly pay. South Carolina sets and routinely adjusts upper limits to the amount of compensation they will pay. Additionally, death benefits in South Carolina also include coverage of up to $2,500 for funeral expenses.

Who can file for workers’ compensation death benefits?

In most cases, only those dependent on the person who dies in the workplace accident or due to a workplace illness can claim death benefits. In most cases, spouses and children of the deceased are the ones who received these benefits. However, partially dependent family members, non-dependent children and even parents can receive a portion of the benefits depending on circumstances.

Surviving dependents need to take timely action if they hope to connect with death benefits through South Carolina’s workers’ compensation program. Those who fail to apply within two years of the date of death will find that they likely do not have grounds for compensation.

The sooner people educate themselves about their rights and take action, the better. Death benefits are a critical protection that ensures that no matter what happens in the workplace, a worker or their surviving dependents won’t have to bear the financial consequences of a workplace incident alone.