New York Workers' Comp Death Benefits: Eligibility & Amounts

Surviving family members can collect benefits through workers’ comp when an injured worker passes away in New York.

When someone dies from a work-related injury or illness, the worker’s family members may be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits from the state of New York. These death benefits are available to help support loved ones who depended on the deceased worker’s income, and to help pay funeral costs. (To learn about benefits available to injured workers, see our article on New York workers’ comp benefits.)

Are You Eligible for Death Benefits?

Certain family members of the deceased worker are always eligible for benefits. These family members include:

  • a spouse
  • a child under the age of 18
  • a child under the age of 23 who is enrolled in an accredited educational institution and attending full time, and
  • a child of any age, if the child was dependent on the worker at the time of death and is either permanently totally blind or permanently physically disabled.

If the deceased worker doesn’t have a spouse or children who meet the above definitions, the following family members might be eligible for benefits:

  • a grandchild or sibling who is dependent on the deceased worker and is under 18, a full-time student under 23, or any age and permanently blind or disabled, or
  • the deceased worker’s parent or grandparent, if dependent on the deceased worker at the time of death.

How Much Are Death Benefits in New York?

Death benefits are generally paid weekly, based on a percentage of the worker’s average weekly wage. Dependents can received a combined total of 66 2/3% of the worker’s average weekly wage, subject to a maximum weekly benefit set by law each year. The current maximum benefit payable is $870.61 per week; see the New York Workers’ Compensation Benefits page to find the current cap.

The amount of death benefits available depends on which family members are claiming benefits:

  • If there is a spouse and no children. The spouse receives a weekly payment of two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage. This payment continues until the spouse dies or remarries; in the case of remarriage, the spouse gets a final lump-sum payment of two years’ worth of weekly payments.
  • If there is no spouse and at least one child. The children receive a weekly payment of two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage, to be shared among them. This payment continues for as long as the children meet the definition of dependent, above.
  • If there is a spouse and at least one child. The spouse receives 36 2/3% of the worker’s average weekly wage, and the children share the remaining 30%. If either the spouse dies or the children become ineligible, the remaining beneficiary’s share increases to two-thirds. A spouse who remarries receives a two-year lump-sum payment; the children’s benefits in this situation depend on how many there are.
  • No spouse and no children. The worker’s grandchildren, siblings, parents, and/or grandparents may be eligible for benefits if they relied on the worker for financial support. Grandchildren and siblings are eligible for 25% of the worker’s average weekly wage, each. Parents and grandparents are each eligible for 40% of the worker’s average weekly wage. However, the total amount paid out may not exceed two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage.

If the deceased worker has no spouse, child, or dependents according to the definitions described above, the worker’s parents will receive a lump sum of $50,000 (regardless of whether they relied on the worker for financial support). If the deceased worker has no surviving parents, this amount will be paid into the worker’s estate.

How Much Do Family Members Receive for Funeral Benefits in New York?

Workers’ compensation must pay for the actual costs of the worker’s funeral, up to a current maximum of $12,500 in the metropolitan New York counties (New York, Bronx, Kings, Queens, Nassau, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester). For all other New York counties, the maximum funeral benefit is $10,500. For firefighters and police officers who die from injuries suffered in the line of duty, no maximum applies: Workers’ comp will pay the full funeral expense, as long as it’s reasonable.

Funeral benefits must be paid whether or not there are any dependents to receive death benefits. For example, if a worker died with no spouse or other eligible dependents, the worker’s adult sister could apply for benefits to pay for his funeral. She would not have to prove that she was financially dependent on the worker to get these benefits.

How to File a Claim for Death Benefits

You may claim death benefits and/or funeral benefits by filing a state form called Claim for Compensation in a Death Case. You will also have to file supporting documents, such as a death certificate and proof of your relationship to the deceased worker. The worker’s treating physician must also complete a form, certifying that death was caused by work or a previous work-related injury.

You must notify the employer within 30 days that the deceased worker has died. Claims for benefits must be filed within two years of death.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need professional help? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR CLAIM

Get the compensation you deserve.

We've helped 265 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you