Losing a loved one due to a workplace injury can be a very traumatic experience. You may experience feelings of profound sadness, hopelessness and uncertainty. In circumstances where your partner or family member was the breadwinner, you may also be placed under significant financial strain. It is important to know there are a number of entitlements that you can pursue as a dependant.
Am I eligible to make a dependency claim?
Generally, there are three categories of ‘dependants’ eligible to make a dependency claim:
- Dependant partner – A partner, who was wholly or mainly dependent on the deceased’s earnings. A partner who resided with the deceased at the time of death is deemed a dependant.
- Partially dependant partner – A partner, who was to any extent dependent on the deceased’s earnings.
- Dependant child –A child under 16 or under 25 and a full-time student or apprentice who was dependent on the deceased (including an orphan child or child born after the death of the deceased).
Dependants may be other family members or non-family members.
What are my entitlements?
Once WorkSafe accepts that you are a dependant and that the death was work-related, you will be entitled to the following:
1. Weekly Pension
As a dependant partner, you may be entitled to a weekly pension of up to $2,570* per week. For the first 13 weeks after the death, you are entitled to 95% of your late partner’s pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE). From 14 weeks to three years, you are entitled to 50% of your late partner’s PIAWE. If there is more than one dependant partner, this amount will be equally shared between partners.
Dependent children may also receive a weekly pension of 5% of the deceased’s PIAWE. This will commence 14 weeks after the date of death until they turn 16. After they turn 16, the pension will continue until the age of 25, if they are a full-time student or apprentice.
2. Funeral Expenses
WorkSafe will pay the reasonable cost of burial and cremation services, up to $15,230.
3. Family Counselling Services
WorkSafe will pay the reasonable cost for family counseling services, up to $6,820 for the entire family.
4. Lump Sum payments
In addition to the weekly pension, payment of a lump sum up to $644,640* will be provided, to be shared between all eligible dependents.
5. Damages under the Wrongs Act
Pursuant to Part III of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic), you are entitled to make a claim for past and future loss of financial dependency and services. You are able to recover damages of up to $1,111,180*if it can be established that the employer’s negligence caused the injuries that resulted in the death. Any statutory benefits that you received from the dependency claim will be reduced from an award of damages.
Are there time limits to making my claim?
Yes. You have two years from the date of death to lodge a dependency claim. You have six years to make a damages claim for financial dependency.
If you have lost a partner or family member as a result of a work-related accident or injury, please accept our deepest condolences. We understand that this is a difficult time and are here to help. Please contact us on 1800 853 085 so that we can pursue the entitlements that you deserve.
* The figures provided are correct as at 1 July 2021.