Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits and Dependents in Maryland
Maryland Workers’ Compensation is at its essence an insurance policy paid for by employers that pays workers who have suffered work related injuries money while they are unable to work and for any disability that may have occurred.
Pursuant to section 9-632 on the Maryland Labor and Employment article, dependents are entitled to receive the compensation that was owed to an injured worker who dies before all benefits are received. The Court of Appeals has held that : ‘it is not the death which is compensable under the statute but rather the injury, and it is the right of the workman himself to collect the benefits unpaid from that injury at the time of his death which survives.’” Keller, 353 Md. at 174, 725 A.2d at 565
The Maryland Workers’ Compensation commission defines a dependent as (1) a minor child; or (2) a surviving spouse to whom a legal obligation was owed by the covered employee at the time of the employee’s death.
Therefore, a surviving spouse has to prove that he or she by another law or judgment entitled to receive support from the deceased in order to qualify to receive benefits under this section. The mere fact that one was married to the descendant worker is not enough. Wal-Mart Shops, Inc. v. Holmes. Surviving spouses, therefore, need a legally enforceable contract, decree or order in order to receive disability benefits that the decedent would have received but for the untimely death.