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Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits Widows And Widowers Who Were Separated At The Time Of Death Requires A Showing Of Dependency

February 26th, 2018

In Grimm v. WCAB, Pa. Cmwlth. Ct., WL 280380, (1/4/18), claimant separated from his wife 18 months before she suffered a fatal work-related heart attack.  The record showed that decedent provided health insurance for claimant through her employer.  Otherwise, claimant was entirely self-sufficient, and in fact, provided financial aid to decedent and their children.  The test for establishing dependence for widows and widowers requires a showing of actual dependency, and that he/she received a substantial portion of support from decedent.  The workers’ compensation judge found that claimant was not living with decedent and that he was not dependent on her or receiving a substantial portion of support from her at the time of her death.  The Commonwealth Court affirmed.

Before Mary Hannah Leavitt, P.J., Renee Chon Jubelirer, J., Robert Simpson, J., Kevin Brobson, J., Anne E. Covey, J., Michael H. Wojcik, j., and Joseph M. Cosgrove, J.  Opinion by Judge Simpson,  Judge Cosgrove dissented.

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