Death Benefits Available Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) compensates longshore, harbor, and maritime employees who are not seamen and who are injured while working or contract an illness on the job. In cases when the offshore injury or illness results in death, the Office of Worker Compensation Plans, the division of the Department of Labor that administers the Longshore Act, provides death or survivor benefits. Under the Longshore Act, a widow and any surviving children of a deceased longshoreman who dies from a work related incident are entitled to a portion of the deceased worker's average weekly wage following death.
Surviving widows and minor children of a deceased longshore worker are entitled to a percentage of the deceased's wages:
- Widow only can receive 50%
- Widow and one minor child can receive 66 2/3%
- Widow and multiple minor children can receive 66 2/3%
- One minor child only can receive 50%
- Two or more minor children only can receive 66 2/3%
If a widow remarries, it directly affects her ability to continue receiving death benefits. A remarried widow can only receive a two‑year lump sum dowry before the death benefits stop. Death benefits provided for dependent children regardless of the widow's marital status. Dependent children can receive benefits until the age of majority (typically 18 years old). The benefits can continue past the age of majority until the 23rd birthday if the dependent becomes a full-time student.
Longshore Death Benefits Are Limited
Longshore death benefits are extremely limited percentages of often already low wages. An experienced longshore and maritime lawyer will know that it is imperative to pursue any possible third party claims, as well as a 905(b) claim against the employer in death cases. The Longshore Act is does not even begin to compensate for the death of a husband or father. If one of your loved ones has died while working offshore and you have been told that the Longshore Act applies to your family, please contact an experienced maritime law firm that has handled third party longshore claims before. At Arnold & Itkin, we can evaluate any possible third party claims or 905(b) claims that may increase your recovery. Contact us today to learn more.