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Survivors’ Benefits

When does this information apply?

This information applies where an injury or disease resulting in a worker’s death occurred on or after January1, 1998. Please note, if the injury or disease resulting in the worker’s death occurred before March 1, 2000, then the information below may not apply to you if you are a same-sex partner of the worker. You should speak to a qualified representative.

Who is eligible for survivors’ benefits?

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) makes payments and provides services to surviving spouses, dependent children, or other dependants when a worker dies as a result of a work-related injury or disease. A survivor must apply for these benefits and services within six months of the worker’s death. For information on what to do if you run out of time see Time Limit Extensions: Filing a Claim.

What kinds of benefits are available?

There are four kinds of benefits and services that survivors may receive:

  • payments of money, which are fully indexed for inflation
  • help for a spouse to enter the workforce, if (s)he asks for it within one year of the worker’s death
  • counselling to help deal with the loss of the worker, if the worker’s spouse or children ask for it within one year of the worker’s death
  • funeral expenses and, in some cases, transportation costs for the worker’s body

What payments does WSIB make to survivors?

WSIB will pay a lump sum to a spouse who, at the time of the worker’s death, is living with the worker, receiving payments from the worker under a court order or separation agreement, or is financially dependent on the worker. If there is no surviving spouse, any dependent children will receive a lump sum.

WSIB will make monthly payments to only one of the following groups (there may be one or more than one person in the group):

  • spouses;
  • dependent children who are under the age of 19 or over the age of 19 and physically or mentally unable to earn wages;
  • parents or people acting in the roles of parents to the deceased worker’s dependent children, but who were not a spouse of the worker;
  • other dependants of the worker.

The payment amounts will be different depending on:

  • the age of the spouse;
  • the number of spouses;
  • the number of dependent children and whether any of them are unable to work, or are over 19 years of age but continuing their education in a program approved by WSIB;
  • the number of other dependants who received money from the worker; and
  • the net average earnings (NAE) of the worker.

See Average Earnings for more information on how to arrive at a worker’s NAE. The total amount of monthly payments cannot exceed 85% of the worker’s NAE. For details regarding lump sum and periodic payments to survivors, see Calculating Survivors’ Benefits.

Survivors must report to WSIB any change in their situation that may affect the level of benefits they can receive. They must report the change within 10 days of it happening. See Material Change in Circumstances.

How do I know if I am a spouse?

WSIB defines a spouse as either of two persons (male and female or same sex partners) who are living together as a couple and

  1. are married to each other, or
  2. are not married to each other and,
    • have lived together for at least one year, or
    • are together the parents of a child and have lived together in a relationship of some permanence, or
    • have together entered into a cohabitation agreement under s. 53 of the Family Law Act.

 If you believe that you are a spouse but WSIB disagrees, contact a qualified representative.

Important Information

This publication contains general information only. It is not legal advice about a particular situation and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified representative. This publication was last updated on the revision date listed below.

March 1, 2011