Oregon Workers' Comp Death Benefits: Eligibility & Amounts

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

When a worker passes away from a work-related injury or illness, his or her surviving dependents are eligible to receive benefits. Called “death benefits,” these sums are available to the worker’s spouse, children, or other dependents who relied on the worker for financial support. (To learn about compensation for injured workers, see our article on Oregon workers’ comp benefits.)

Who is Eligible for Death Benefits in Oregon?

A worker’s dependents—those who relied on the worker for financial support in whole or in part—are eligible to receive death benefits. The following family members are entitled to death benefits:

  • spouse
  • child age 18 or under, or
  • child age 23 or under who is enrolled in higher education.

Other family members can also qualify as dependents if they were dependent on the worker for financial support, including:

  • parent or stepparent
  • grandparent
  • grandchild
  • sibling or half-sibling, or
  • niece or nephew.

Death benefits are available when a worker passes away due to a work-related injury or illness or when a worker dies while receiving permanent total disability benefits due to a work injury or illness.

How Much Are Death Benefits in Oregon?

Death benefits are as follows:

  • Spouse. A spouse will receive around 66 2/3% of the worker’s average weekly wage, multiplied by 4.35, to be paid on a monthly basis. However, a spouse cannot receive more than a maximum amount set by law each year. As of July 2017, the maximum monthly benefit is $2,793.87. A spouse’s benefits end upon remarriage, with a lump sum payout of 36 times the monthly benefit.
  • Child. Each child receives around 25% of the worker’s average weekly wage, multiplied by 4.35, to be paid on a monthly basis. However, the benefit for all children cannot exceed the monthly maximum set by law. The maximum depends on whether the worker has a surviving spouse, whether the child is dependent on that spouse, and whether the child has any living parent at all. However, the maximum for a spouse and all children is $5,585.32 per month (as of July 2017).
  • Other dependents. Other family members receive 50% of the average monthly support provided by the worker in the 12 months before the worker’s injury. However, they cannot receive more than a combined maximum of $418.91 per month (as of July 2017).

The maximum monthly death benefits are updated each year. For current rates, see the death benefit maximums at website of the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division.

How Much Are Funeral Benefits?

Oregon also provides a generous allowance for funeral and burial costs. As of July 2017, workers’ comp will pay for up to $19,260.20 in funeral and burial costs. The remaining balance after bills are paid goes to the worker’s estate.

When Should I File a Death Benefits Claim?

If you are seeking death benefits, you should notify your loved one’s employer in writing as soon as possible after the worker’s death, but no later than 90 days afterwards. The employer should provide you with any necessary paperwork to make a claim. If the employer is unhelpful, contact the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division right away to get help making a claim.

If you’re having trouble collecting workers’ comp death benefits, you should consult with a workers’ comp lawyer. To learn more, see our article on how much an Oregon workers’ comp lawyer costs.)

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