In NSW each year there are approximately 100 deaths that occur at work or as a result of work. The Workers Compensation Act 1987 NSW provides specific provisions for compensation to families who have a loved one who dies as a result of work. Section 25 of the 1987 Act entitles dependents to a lump sum death benefit amount which is currently $798,100 (as at 26/03/19). Dependent children are also entitled to a weekly benefit of the current rate of $142.90 per week (as at 26/03/19) under the age of 16 years, or if they are student up to the age of 21 years.

Section 26 provides for payment of reasonable funeral expenses not exceeding $15,000.

Biological children and step-children are considered the same for the purposes of the compensation. Student means a person receiving full-time education at school, college or university.

In these particular matters the first step is for liability to be determined. If the insurance company accepts liability, that is, there is no dispute that the deceased died as a result of work, then compensation will be paid to the dependents of the deceased. This compensation includes the funeral expenses, weekly payments to dependent children if they under 16 years, or are under 21 years of age and are full-time students, and the lump sum death benefit.

The second step in these matters relates only to the lump sum death benefit. Each dependent person will have the opportunity to put forward their reasoning in relation to what amount of the lump sum death benefit is apportioned to them. Significant issues to cover include:

  • The dependents level of past dependency and expected future dependency, for example were they living with the deceased.
  • Does the dependent have any special needs such as illnesses or conditions that warrant a greater level of apportionment to cover the cost of care or treatment that the deceased worker would have contributed to.
  • Does the dependent have any significant lifestyle factors that require consideration.

All of these issues and factors will help determine the apportionment to each dependent. If you believe you are a dependent of a deceased worker please contact out office to obtain advice in relation to the entitlements that are available to you because Helping You is Our Business.

Email Libby or speak with her on (02) 6766 1066.

See articles written by Libby Campbell