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Death and Burial Benefits

If an employee dies because of a work-related injury or illness, his or her survivors may be eligible for death benefits.

Death benefits may be paid to:

  • a surviving spouse,
  • minor children,
  • children less than 25 years old who are enrolled in an accredited college or university,
  • dependent grandchildren,
  • other dependent family members, or
  • non-dependent parents (but only when there are no surviving eligible dependent family members).

A legal beneficiary is eligible for death benefits the day after the employee's death. Death benefits are paid until the beneficiary no longer meets the requirements.

To file a claim, a beneficiary must submit a DWC Form-042, Beneficiary Claim for Death Benefits to DWC within one year of the employee's death.

How much are death benefits?

Death benefits are 75% of the deceased employee's average weekly wage. There are  maximum and minimum benefit limits.

Benefits may also be available for burial expenses. They are are only paid to the someone who paid burial expenses.

For more information, call 800-252-7031 Ext. 1.

Who can get death benefits, and for how long?

  • A surviving spouse can get death benefits for the remainder of his or her life, unless the spouse remarries. If there are dependent children when the employee dies, the children get half the benefits, and the spouse gets the other half.
  • A surviving spouse who remarries will get a lump sum payment equal to two years of benefits. If there are dependent children who still qualify for the death benefit after two years, the entire benefit will be divided equally among the dependent children (if there is more than one child).
  • A surviving spouse of a first responder (as defined by Labor Code §504.055) who remarries is still eligible for death benefits for the remainder of his or her life. The lump-sum payment does not apply to a surviving spouse of a first responder, and the surviving spouse’s benefits are not redistributed due to remarriage.
  • A child can get death benefits age 18; or until age 25 if the child is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university. If there is more than one eligible child, benefits are re-distributed equally among the remaining eligible children when one or more are no longer eligible. Children 18 or older must show evidence of enrollment to remain eligible.
  • A child with physical or mental disability who is a dependent on the date the deceased employee died may receive death benefits until  the child dies or no longer has the disability. The custodian of an eligible child with a physical or mental disability must provide the insurance carrier with documentation of the disability for the remainder of his or her life.
  • An adult child who is a dependent of the deceased employee for a reason other than physical or mental disability may be eligible for death benefits for 364 weeks after the death. An eligible adult child claiming death benefits must provide documentation, such as medical records, to remain eligible to receive the benefits.
  • Grandchildren may be eligible for death benefits if they were at least 20% dependent on the deceased employee at the time of death, unless the grandchild's parent is eligible for the benefit. An eligible grandchild can get death benefits until age 18. A grandchild who is eligible for death benefits and who is not a minor at the time of the employee's death, may be eligible for no more than 364 weeks of death benefits.
  • Other dependent family members, such as a dependent parent, stepparent, sibling, or grandparent of the deceased employee, may also qualify for death benefits, but only if there is no eligible surviving spouse, child, or grandchild. The duration of benefits is limited to 364 weeks.
  • Non-dependent parents may qualify as eligible beneficiaries if there is no eligible surviving spouse, child or grandchild, and there are no surviving dependents who are parents, siblings, or grandparents of the deceased. Those benefits are limited to 104 weeks.
  • If there are no eligible beneficiaries, or the eligible beneficiaries are no longer eligible and the insurance carrier has not paid at least 364 weeks of benefits, remaining benefits are paid to the Subsequent Injury Fund, administered by DWC.

For more information

Texas Labor Code (TLC) §§ 408 .181-408.187
28 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §§ 122.100, 132.1-132.17

Last updated: 4/12/2018