Understanding NJ Workers' Comp: Death Benefits Explained

The untimely loss of a loved one due to a work-related incident is a profound tragedy. New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system aims to provide a measure of financial relief to the dependents of deceased workers through death benefits.

Who Qualifies?

Death benefits are designated for the deceased worker’s dependents. The law generally defines dependents as members of the worker’s family or household who rely on the worker for financial support. This commonly includes spouses and children but can also encompass others if they can prove dependency.

Attorney marks “confirm” in red letters over Work Injury Claim after confirmation from insurance carrier of dependency benefits

Benefit Amount

Dependents receive 70% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, distributed among them based on a judge’s determination in proportion to their dependency. However, the total amount is subject to the state’s minimum and maximum limits.

Duration of Benefits

  • For a surviving spouse, benefits continue until remarriage.


  • For children, benefits persist until they reach the age of 18 or 23 if they’re full-time students. If a child has a physical or mental disability, the benefits might continue indefinitely.


Consider Robert, a factory worker who tragically died from a machinery malfunction. He left behind a wife and two young children. His family received death benefits, ensuring that his children’s educational needs were met and that his wife could cover living expenses while she navigated this challenging transition.

"He was so alive at all points, and so gifted with the rare faculty of living intensely and entirely in every moment as it passed."

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