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Texas Employment Law: Death and Burial Benefits

School & Work

This article answers common questions about death and burial benefits.

What are death benefits?

Death benefits help replace family income after an employee dies from work-related injury or illness.

How do I file for death benefits?

File a Beneficiary Claim for Death Benefits (DWC Form-042) with the Texas Department of Insurance's Division of Workers' Compensation. You must file within one year of the employee's death.

When do I need to apply for death benefits?

You must file for benefits within one year of the employee's death. Use Beneficiary Claim for Death Benefits (DWC Form-042).

You can only file after the deadline if:

  • You are claiming benefits for a minor child.
  • You are claiming benefits for someone who is not competent.
  • You can show good reason for the delay.

Who can get death benefit payments?

Death benefits primarily go the employee's spouse or dependents. Non-dependent parents may also be eligible if there are no eligible dependents. 

Death benefits may go to:

  • spouse
  • minor children
  • children less than 25-years old who are full time students
  • dependent grandchildren
  • dependent parents, stepparents, siblings, or grandparents
  • non-dependent parents

How much do benefits pay?

Benefits pay 75% of the employee's average weekly wage. The average weekly wage is the employee's average pay over the 13 weeks before their fatal accident or illness.

The average weekly wage includes benefits, such as health insurance.

Payments cannot exceed the Texas statewide average weekly wage.

How long do benefits last?

How long benefits last depends on the person receiving them. 

Spouse: A spouse can get benefits for life or until they remarry. If the spouse remarries, they will get a lump-sum payment equal to two years of benefits.

If the employee was a first responder, the spouse will get benefits for life even if they remarry. The spouse will not get a lump-sum payment if they remarry.

If there are also eligible children, the spouse will get have and the children will get half.

Children: Dependent children can get benefits until they turn 18. Full-time students can get benefits until they turn 25.

Children with disabilities may get benefits for life.

If both a spouse and minor children are eligible, the spouse will get half and the children will get half.

Adult Children (non-disabled): Adult children who were dependents for reasons other than disability may get benefits for 10 years.

Grandchildren: Grandchildren who were at least 20% dependent on the employee can get benefits until they turn 18. Adult grandchildren dependents may be eligible for 10 years of benefits.

Other Dependent Family: Parents, stepparents, siblings, or grandparents may get 10 years of benefits. There must be no eligible spouse, child, or grandchild.

Non-dependent Parents: Non-dependent parents may get two years of benefits it there is no other eligible person.

What if there are multiple people eligible for benefits?

There are three priority groups.

Group 1: The spouse, children, and grandchildren get highest priority. If both a spouse and children (or grandchildren) are eligible, the spouse gets half and the children get half. 

Group 2: If there is no eligible spouse or children, including grandchildren, payments are split between dependent parents, stepparents, siblings, and grandparents.

Group 3: Non-dependent parents can get payments if no one else is eligible.

What are burial benefits?

Burial benefits reimburse you for the employee's burial costs. The maximum amount is $10,000.

You must file an insurance claim within one year of the death (not the burial).

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