Fatal workplace accidents and injuries can be very difficult for victims' families to deal with in Massachusetts. After a family member is killed on-the-job, many families don't think about how the funeral and other expenses will be paid until after they have grieved.
Unfortunately, many families have to deal with the financial aspect of the worker's death just days after the fatal accident to plan the funeral. This can be a difficult and emotional time for loved ones and family members. To make matters worse, reports of families not receiving enough money from workers' compensation to cover the funeral expenses only causes more pain.
In Massachusetts, current workers' compensation benefits only provide a maximum of $4,000 for burial benefits. This has led to many family members not being able to afford funeral expenses as the average funeral costs $7,775, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. However, including a grave marker, flowers and obituary notices, the average cost increases to $9,000.
The fact that workers' compensation burial benefits in Massachusetts only covers roughly half of funeral costs for the average adult is unacceptable as many workplace fatalities are preventable in the first place.
To address the lack of burial benefits in Massachusetts, lawmakers have proposed the Families of Fallen Workers Burial Act, which would increase workers' compensation benefits to $8,000 to cover burial expenses. Supporters of the bill say that it will help many families who lose loved ones in workplace accidents, and it will make sure the family does not have to deal with the financial burden of paying for the funeral after a fatal workplace accident.
Hopefully lawmakers in Massachusetts will pass the proposal to make sure victims of workplace fatalities can receive a proper funeral to help their families and loved ones honor their memory during this tragic and emotional time.
Source: EHS Today, "Families of Workplace Fatality Victims Struggle to Pay Funeral Costs," Sandy Smith, Oct. 9, 2013