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Georgia Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits – Primary Beneficiaries, Part Two

In my last blog post, I discussed what dependency benefits are available to primary beneficiary dependents of a deceased worker under the Georgia workers’ compensation law.  In this post, I will discuss how long primary beneficiary dependents can receive dependency benefits.

How long can a surviving spouse receive dependency benefits?

In general, dependents only receive dependency benefits while they remain dependent on the deceased worker.  The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, provides some specific limits on the time frame for receiving dependency benefits.  O.C.G.A. 34-9-265 states that the dependency benefits of a spouse will be terminated if the spouse remarries or cohabits with someone of the opposite sex.  Apart from those situations, however, the spouse usually will continue receiving dependency benefits until he or she reaches the maximum limit allowed by law.

In the case of a spouse, dependency benefits are limited to a total of $220,000.  However, this limit only applies if there were no dependent children at the time of the worker’s death.  If there were dependent children, the spouse can receive benefits until age 65 or for a period of 400 weeks, even if this amount goes over the $220,000 cap.

How long can a child receive dependency benefits

The other type of primary beneficiaries are children.  Children’s dependency benefits are generally limited by age.  Most children continue to receive dependency benefits until age 18.

There are a couple of exceptions that allow children to draw benefits past 18 years of age.  The first exception allows a child to continue to receive benefits up until age 22 if the child remains enrolled full time in good standing in high school or a postsecondary institution (college or technical schools).  Also, if the dependent child is physically or mentally incapable of earning a living, then there is no age limit.  The child can receive benefits as long as the child remains dependent.

What about other dependents

In my final blog post on death cases and dependency benefits in Georgia, I will discuss secondary/partial dependents, when they can receive benefits, and for how long.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families. To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

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Jason Perkins

Workers' Compensation Attorney

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