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There are some very unique rules regarding who is a dependent of the deceased employee thus entitled to death benefits, how much they are entitled to and how said benefits are paid depending on the extent of dependency. In this blog, I will cover some (not all) of these special rules/laws.

First, for injuries resulting in death, with the injury date occurring on or after 1/1/06 the general death benefit is as follows:


  • $250,000 – for one total dependent
  • $290,000 – for 2 total dependents
  • $320,000 – for 3 or more total dependents


  • $250,000 + 4 times the annual support received from the deceased employee, but not more than $290,000 (this is for 1 total dependent and one, or more, partial dependents)
  • 8 times the annual support received from the deceased employee, but not more than $250,000 (this is for one or more partial dependents, where there is no total dependent)

Also, it’s important to know that if there are 2 or more total dependents and any number of partial dependents – the total dependents receive the death benefits outlined above and the partial dependents do not receive any death benefits.

The distinction between an individual who is wholly or totally dependent on the injured worker and an individual who is only partially dependent varies based upon certain issues as well as prescriptions under the law.

In my next blog on this issue, I will discuss some of those criteria as well as certain of those presumptions that bear on the extent of dependency–whether total or partial.  Likewise, I will in a subsequent blog address certain special rules regarding minor children and how this impacts and changes the death benefit figures above.

Mr. Irwin is a recognized specialist in Workers’ Compensation law. He has been certified as a specialist by the State Bar of California since 1995. He limits his practice to handling only workers’ compensation cases. View Attorney Richard Irwin's Attorney Bio Here.

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