In my last blog post in this series, I discussed how long primary beneficiaries/dependents can receive dependency benefits. In this blog post, I will discuss when secondary beneficiary dependents are entitled to workers’ compensation dependency benefits in Georgia. I will also discuss the benefits they can receive.
Who can qualify as a secondary beneficiary
Secondary beneficiaries are dependents (people who looked to the deceased worker for financial support) other than the spouse or children of the deceased worker. These dependents could include family members (such as a mother, father, grandchild, or grandparent) or friends. To receive benefits, the dependent’s dependency on the deceased worker must have existed at the time that the deceased worker’s work injury. It also must have existed to some extent at least three months prior to the work-related injury.
When can secondary beneficiaries receive benefits?
The workers’ compensation law in Georgia provides benefits for secondary beneficiary dependents only in instances where there are no primary beneficiary dependents (spouse and/or children) receiving benefits. When there are no primary dependents receiving benefits, those people who qualify as secondary dependents can receive benefits.
Types of secondary beneficiaries
There are two categories of secondary dependents:
- Total secondary dependents
- Partial secondary dependents.
Total secondary dependents are people who were totally dependent on the deceased worker for support at the time of the work accident. Partial secondary dependents are individuals who were only partially dependent on the deceased worker for support at the time of the work accident. As long as there is a secondary beneficiary who is a total dependent, then no partial secondary dependent can receive benefits. If there are no primary beneficiaries and no totally dependent secondary beneficiaries, then partial secondary dependents can receive benefits.
How long can secondary beneficiaries receive benefits?
There is no specific time frame provided for how long totally dependent secondary beneficiaries can receive benefits. The law only specifies that they can receive benefits “during their dependency”. Potentially, a totally dependent secondary beneficiary could draw workers’ compensation dependency benefits for the rest of his or her life.
For partially dependent secondary beneficiaries, there is a more specific limit. Benefits end at age 65 or after 400 weeks of benefits, whichever provides greater benefits. Of course, benefits would also end sooner if the personstops being dependent.
Workers’ compensation deaths are tragic events. After the death, there are so many things on the mind of family and friends that workers’ compensation benefits are probably the last thing they are thinking about. However, it is important to know, that there are time limits known as statutes of limitations requiring that claims for dependency benefits be filed within a certain time of the work related injury or death. It can be very important to act quickly so that you do not lose your rights. If you know of anyone who has questions about a work-related death or possible dependency benefits or anything else to do with workers’ compensation, Cliff Perkins, Jason Perkins, and Travis Studdard specialize in workers’ compensation claims and are happy to provide a free consultation to answer those questions. To reach them, you can simply fill out the “Need Help” form or call the phone number on the right side of this page.