If an employee dies because of a work-related injury in Mississippi, certain family members might be eligible for death benefits through workers’ compensation. Death benefits include weekly payments to help replace the deceased worker’s income, as well as funeral and burial costs. (For information on other types of benefits, see our article on workers' compensation benefits in Mississippi.)
The following family members are presumed to be total dependents and receive priority for death benefits:
If the worker didn’t have a spouse or children, or if there are any benefits left over, other family members are eligible. However, they must prove that they were actually dependent on the worker, based on their relationship with the worker, the amount of financial support they received from the worker, and the duration of the dependency. Eligible family members include:
Death benefits are based on the worker’s average weekly wage prior to the injury. The total amount of weekly death benefits paid to all dependents cannot be more than 66 ⅔% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, subject to the minimum and maximum benefit rates. The maximum weekly benefit is updated each year. For 2018, the maximum weekly benefit is $487.04. (For a full list of weekly maximums based on the date of accident, see the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission website.)
Benefits are paid in the following amounts and order of priority:
If there is no surviving spouse or children, or if the benefits to the surviving spouse and children are less than 66 ⅔% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, other dependent family members are eligible for benefits. These beneficiaries—such as dependent grandchildren, siblings, parents, or grandparents—each receive 15% of the worker’s average weekly wages (up to the maximum).
If the calculated benefits add up to more than 66 ⅔% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, the dependents’ shares are reduced proportionately.
Death benefits are paid for a maximum of 450 weeks. However, death benefits end sooner in certain situations. If a surviving spouse gets remarried, his or her weekly benefits stop. Benefits to a child, sibling, or grandchild end when they turn 18—or when they turn 23 if they are full-time students—unless they are incapable of self-support because of a disability.
The worker’s dependent family members, or the estate of the deceased worker, can receive up to $5,000 for burial expenses.
If you’re having trouble getting the benefits you are entitled to, you should consult with a lawyer. To find out how much that might cost, see our article on hiring a Mississippi workers’ comp lawyer.