Part E of the EEOICPA allows an eligible Spouse (or eligible Surviving Child) to file a claim for Survivor Benefits when a worker passes and the EEOICPA-approved condition(s) are listed as a cause, or contributing cause, of death. The monetary award can be as much as $125,000, tax free. It’s common to refer to this benefit as the “death benefit”. There are caveats and eligibility details.
A new policy has recently taken effect that provides another option to consider. When a Worker passes due to a medical condition not related to previously approved condition(s), the Spouse may consider pursuing an Impairment rating/renewal. The Impairment rating is based on most recent medical records and assessments for the deceased worker. This is called “Election of Benefits”.
Under this policy, it is presumed the “worker” would have pursued the benefit, if they were still living. Therefore, that right or option continues to the Spouse. For most situations, pursuing the “death benefit” will continue to be the prudent choice. However, in some cases monetary compensation to the Spouse may be significantly improved under the “Election of Benefits”.
Death certificates usually only list immediate causes of death … cardiopulmonary failure, respiratory failure, sepsis and so on, but are silent as to the contribution of long term, chronic conditions. If a worker had a chronic condition(s) previously approved or in process under EEOICPA, these are the cases with significant potential benefit for Surviving Spouses … should they choose to pursue.
If you have questions about your choices or general questions about Survivor Benefits, please contact AtomicWorkers for a no charge consultation. We are happy to discuss this benefit with any Spouse who is seeking a sounding board on this topic.