Area of Law: Workers' Compensation
Answer Number: 640
Survivors' benefitsRegion: Ontario Answer Number: 640
The immediate family members of a worker may be eligible for survivors’ benefits if a worker dies because of a work-related injury or disease. The amount of the benefits is based on the age of the surviving spouse, when the worker died and the number of dependent children. For children to be eligible to receive benefits, at the time the worker died, the children must have been:
- under the age of 19, or
- 19 or over, but due to physical or mental impairment were completely dependent on worker, or
- under the age of 30 and enrolled in an educational program.
In some cases, a separated spouse may also be entitled to benefits. Such is the case if support payments were being paid by the worker or if the separated spouse was otherwise financially dependent on the worker.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits are based on a percentage of the worker’s net average earnings, up to the annual maximum. The worker’s estimated income tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and employment insurance premiums are determined by WSIB at the time of the worker’s death. In doing so, they also take into consideration any CPP or Quebec Pension Plan benefits already being paid to the surviving spouse. WSIB also will pay for reasonable funeral and transport expenses and bereavement counselling. In some cases, support for spouses wishing to rejoin the workplace can also be obtained.
Payments to survivors are both a lump-sum payment as well as monthly payments thereafter. The lump-sum payment is based on the age of the spouse at the time of the worker’s death, using age 40 as the starting point. The payment ranges from about $76,000 to about $120,000, plus or minus $2,000 for each year the spouse is under or over the age of 40, respectively. That means that the amount decreases for every year that the spouse was older than 40 at the time of the worker’s death; similarly, the amount increases for every year that the spouse was younger than 40 at the time of the worker’s death.
There may also be monthly payments due. The minimum monthly compensation for a spouse and child is based on an annual amount with a maximum earnings ceiling (175% of industrial wage for Ontario). The monthly payment amounts are based on the rate of inflation and are therefore, subject to change every year.
For current lump-sum and monthly benefit amounts, refer to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
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