Section 31: Death; compensation for dependents; hearings
Section 31. If death results from the injury, the insurer shall pay the following dependents of the employee, including his or her children by a former spouse, wholly dependent upon his or her earnings for support at the time of his or her injury, or at the time of his or her death, compensation as follows, payable, except as hereinafter provided, in the manner set forth in section thirty-two.
To the widow or widower, so long as he or she remains unmarried, a weekly compensation equal to two-thirds of the average weekly wages of the deceased employee, but not more than the average weekly wage in the commonwealth, as determined according to the provisions of subsection (a) of section twenty-nine of chapter one hundred and fifty-one A, and promulgated by the deputy director of unemployment assistance on or before October first preceding the deceased employee's injury or death; provided, however, that in no instance shall said widow or widower, receive less than one hundred and ten dollars per week, to the widow or widower six dollars more a week for each child of the deceased employee under the age of eighteen or over said age and physically or mentally incapacitated from earning, or over said age and a full time student qualified for exemption as a dependent under section one hundred and fifty-one (e) of the Internal Revenue Code, except that no additional compensation for the benefits of the children of the employee shall be payable when combined with the compensation due the spouse of the deceased employee as hereinbefore provided in this section would allow the widow or widower an amount in excess of one hundred and fifty dollars per week; provided that in case any child of the deceased employee is a child by a former wife or husband, the death benefit shall be divided between the surviving wife or husband and all dependent children of the deceased employee in equal shares, the surviving wife or husband taking the same share as a child. If the widow or widower dies or if there is no surviving wife or husband of the deceased employee, such amount or amounts as would have been payable to or for his or her own use and for the benefit of all children of the employee shall be paid in equal shares to all the surviving children of the employee.
If the widow or widower remarries, all payments under the foregoing provisions shall terminate and the insurer shall pay each week to each of such children sixty dollars but in no event shall the payments exceed the amount which would have been payable to the surviving spouse.
The total payments due under this section shall not be more than the average weekly wage in effect in the commonwealth at the time of the injury as determined according to the provisions of subsection (a) of section twenty-nine of chapter one hundred and fifty-one A, and promulgated by the deputy director of unemployment assistance on or before the October first prior to the date of the injury multiplied by two hundred and fifty plus any costs of living increases provided by this section except that payment to or for the benefit of children of the deceased employee under the age of eighteen shall not be discontinued prior to the age of eighteen, and except that after a dependent unremarried widow or widower or physically or mentally incapacitated child over the age of eighteen has received the maximum payments, he or she shall continue to receive further payments but only during such periods as he or she is in fact not fully self-supporting. Either party may request hearings at reasonable intervals before a board member on the question of granting such payments, or on the question of restoration of such payments or on the question of discontinuance of such payments. A member of the board may set a case for hearing on his or her initiative, after due notice to both parties.
In all other cases of total dependency, the insurer shall pay each person, wholly dependent upon the earnings of the deceased employee, for support at the time of the injury, or at the time of the employee's death a weekly payment equal to the weekly amount of that support but not more than two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the deceased employee or more than eighty dollars a week; provided, however, that if there is more than one such dependent, the total amount payable shall not exceed the weekly amount which is, or would be payable to a surviving spouse of the deceased employee. If at the time of the employee's injury or death the deceased employee leaves dependents only partially dependent upon the deceased employee's earnings or dependent's next of kin to whom the deceased has made contributions for support, independent of gifts and gratuities, the insurer shall pay such dependents a weekly compensation equal to the amount that they received from the deceased employee but individually or in combination, no more than would be paid to a surviving spouse.
When weekly payments have been made to an injured employee before the employee's death, compensation under this section to dependents shall begin from the date of death of the employee.