If an employee dies on the job from a job-related injury, from a heart attack, cancer, stroke or other disease found to be caused or aggravated by work, then a dependent could be entitled to benefits. Dependents could be a surviving spouse, minor children or other dependents deemed to be dependent by the court on the deceased worker. Dependents who are good-faith members of the household also may be eligible for benefits, even if not legally married.
If the job-related injury was not the main cause of the death, but contributed to the cause of death, a dependent spouse and children still may be entitled to full death benefits. A recent California Supreme Court case (South Coast Framing) case was about a death on the job, and the court discussed how employment was a "contributing factor." Even survivors only partially dependent on support of the deceased worker may be eligible for this benefit. There is also an allowance for reimbursement of burial expenses.
One dependent is entitled to $250,000, two or more dependents are entitled to $290,000, and three or more dependents would be entitled to $320,000. You would also receive burial expenses; that benefit is determined by the date of injury.
In the case of one or more totally dependent minors, after payment of amounts specified above, death benefits will continue until the youngest minor's 18th birthday (disabled minors receive benefits for life). Death benefits are paid at the total temporary disability rate, but not less than $224.00 per week.
Legislation also provides a $250,000 benefit to the estate of safety officers without dependents who die from job-related injuries that occur on or after January 1, 2003.