The surviving dependents of a deceased worker may receive workers' compensation death benefits if the worker's death arose out of and in the course of his employment. Death benefits provide weekly compensation to the dependents. In most states, the amount of total dependency benefits received is based on a percentage of the worker's average weekly wage. For partial dependency benefits, the amount received is commonly calculated as a portion of the dependent's support that was received from the worker. In addition to weekly compensation, death benefits also include a payment for the worker's burial expenses. The amount allotted for these expenses is set by the Workers' Compensation Act of each state and varies widely between the jurisdictions.
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 provides compensation and the payment of medical expenses for employees, former employees, or survivors of deceased employees of the Department of Energy (DOE). The Act was created in recognition of the fact that there was a lack of uniformity in providing adequate compensation for the occupational illnesses noted below among state workers' compensation programs. The amount of compensation and eligibility for benefits turns on the status of the individual's work and the nature of the illness.
To aid disputing parties in resolving their workers' compensation controversy, some states utilize an ombudsman program. An ombudsman focuses on helping the injured worker navigate the procedural complexities of the workers' compensation system. By doing so, the ombudsman not only serves to aid the worker in recognizing his rights and gaining the benefits due to him, but also provides the worker with an enhanced knowledge of workers' compensation in relation to his injury to make thoughtful and considered choices regarding his claim. The ombudsman is not limited to only helping injured workers. He may also provide a supportive role to the employer.
The status of an individual as a full-time student can affect his eligibility for social security benefits. A child who is disabled or blind may receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Social Security Administration's (SSA) definition of "child" includes an individual who is under age twenty-two and is a full-time student. The key difference between the recovery of benefits for a child versus an adult is that there is a different "disability" criterion. Adult claimants must prove that a medically determinable impairment prohibits them from engaging in substantial gainful activity while children must only show a medically determinable impairment that results in severe functional limitations.
As a general rule, an employee is not necessarily withdrawn from workers' compensation eligibility if he is injured while violating a law or committing a crime in furtherance of his job duties. Most often, the violation of a law or commission of a crime will affect an employee's receipt of benefits if, in the applicable state, it constitutes "wilful misconduct" or is the subject of its very own statutory provision giving a defense to the employer. The violation of a statute does not ipso facto equal "wilful misconduct." Rather, flagrancy and knowledge on the part of the employee are generally required for an act to rise to the level of "wilful."