Survivor Benefits after a Loved One’s Death

When a person dies, his survivors may be able to recover benefits through various means.

  • Wrongful death claim for benefits
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Social Security Administration survivor benefits

If you lost a loved one, here’s what you need to know about these options.

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim

The personal representative of the deceased may file a wrongful death on behalf of the deceased’s beneficiaries. A wrongful death claim requires that the death was the result of the wrongful, neglectful, or unlawful actions of another person.

If the claim can prove liability of the defendant, recoverable damages may address medical expense, burial and funeral expenses, loss of consortium, loss of guidance and companionship, and loss of earning capacity. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of the death.

Death Benefits under Workers’ Compensation Insurance

If a worker is involved in an on-the-job accident in Pennsylvania that results in death, then the worker’s dependents may be entitled to death benefits under workers’ compensation laws. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides a burial expense allowance of $3,000, as well as weekly compensation benefits to dependents.

Social Security Survivor Benefits

Finally, the beneficiary of anyone who has died and who paid into Social Security during his or her working years may be eligible for survivor benefits provided by the Social Security Administration. The SSA will make a one-time lump sum payment of $255 to beneficiaries (only a spouse or child who meets requirements). It may also provide monthly benefits in an amount that varies on a case-by-case basis depending upon how long the deceased worked under Social Security. The beneficiary hoping to receive survivor benefits must apply for the benefits as soon as possible following the death of the person under whose record benefits will be paid.

How can I begin collecting benefits as a survivor today?

Understanding which route you should take to collect benefits – or if you can collect benefits from all three methods listed above – can be confusing. If you recently lost a loved one, collecting benefits can be very emotional as well. At Cordisco & Saile LLC, our wrongful death attorneys want to help you understand your options. To set up a consultation about your case, call us now at 215-642-2335. Or simply fill out our contact form to schedule your consultation.