• The spouse
  • The children, including step-children, adoptive children, or biological children
  • Other family members who lived in the employee’s house and were financially dependent upon him

In addition to the lost earnings, employers of the deceased worker will also pay $15,000 to the dependents to assist with funeral and burial expenses.

The Details of Death Benefits

Receiving death benefits may lighten some of the financial stress in the face of losing the companionship, love, and support of a parent or spouse. These death benefits provide a great deal of assistance, including:

  • The employer pays a weekly amount equal to whatever would have been paid for total incapacitation or the employee’s wages at the time of death—whichever is greater.
  • A dependent child under 18, or each child who is physically or mentally incapacitated, receives an extra $40 per week.
  • The surviving spouse will receive a four percent increase in benefits each year to account for cost of living increases until she is no longer eligible for benefits.

However, some limitations include:

  • If the deceased worker’s dependents are only partially dependent, they will receive partial benefits.
  • If a surviving spouse without dependent children remarries, benefits end on the date of remarriage.
  • If the child is enrolled full-time at an educational facility, the benefits can last until age 23.


Robyn K. Factor
Helping Rhode Island personal injury and work injury clients get the results they deserve since 1994.