Q: What are the death benefits available under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides death or survivor benefits when an eligible worker loses his life due to a work-related injury.
The LHWCA covers longshore, harbor, and other maritime employees who become ill, suffer injuries, or lose their lives at work. Since these workers are not seamen, their survivors aren’t eligible to receive benefits under the Death on the High Seas Act. Instead, death or survivor benefits are provided by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, the Department of Labor division responsible for administering the LHWCA.
LHWCA Death Benefits
If an eligible worker dies from an injury sustained at work, his spouse and children are entitled to benefits based on his average weekly wages (AWW). This amount is typically determined by dividing the deceased’s wages for the entire year by 52. Death benefits must be equal to or higher than the national average weekly wage at the time of death. However, total compensation cannot exceed the lesser of 200 percent of the national AWW or the victim’s AWW. Survivors are entitled to the following percentages of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage:
- Widow only: 50 percent.
- Widow and child: 66⅔ percent.
- Widow and children: 66⅔ percent.
- One child: 50 percent
- Two or more children: 66⅔ percent.
Receiving LHWCA Death Benefits
If you’ve lost a loved one due to work-related injuries, you have one year from the time of death to file for benefits. You may do so by completing and submitting form LS-262 to the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. You might also need to submit documentation with the form, such as medical records, certification of funeral expenses, a marriage certificate, and birth certificates.
Should these death benefits be delayed or denied for any reason, you need professional representation by an attorney experienced in LHWCA claims. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.