State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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Sec. 31-306

Workers’ Compensation Act as amended to January 1, 2013

Death resulting from accident or occupational disease. Dependents. Compensation.

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Sec. 31-306. Death resulting from accident or occupational disease. Dependents. Compensation. (a) Compensation shall be paid to dependents on account of death resulting from an accident arising out of and in the course of employment or from an occupational disease as follows:

(1) Four thousand dollars shall be paid for burial expenses in any case in which the employee died on or after October 1, 1988. If there is no one wholly or partially dependent upon the deceased employee, the burial expenses of four thousand dollars shall be paid to the person who assumes the responsibility of paying the funeral expenses.

(2) To those wholly dependent upon the deceased employee at the date of the deceased employee’s injury, a weekly compensation equal to seventy-five per cent of the average weekly earnings of the deceased calculated pursuant to section 31-310, after such earnings have been reduced by any deduction for federal or state taxes, or both, and for the federal Insurance Contributions Act made from such employee’s total wages received during the period of calculation of the employee’s average weekly wage pursuant to said section 31-310, as of the date of the injury but not more than the maximum weekly compensation rate set forth in section 31-309 for the year in which the injury occurred or less than twenty dollars weekly. (A) The weekly compensation rate of each dependent entitled to receive compensation under this section as a result of death arising from a compensable injury occurring on or after October 1, 1977, shall be adjusted annually as provided in this subdivision as of the following October first, and each subsequent October first, to provide the dependent with a cost-of-living adjustment in the dependent’s weekly compensation rate as determined as of the date of the injury under section 31-309. If the maximum weekly compensation rate, as determined under the provisions of said section 31-309, to be effective as of any October first following the date of the injury, is greater than the maximum weekly compensation rate prevailing at the date of the injury, the weekly compensation rate which the injured employee was entitled to receive at the date of the injury or October 1, 1990, whichever is later, shall be increased by the percentage of the increase in the maximum weekly compensation rate required by the provisions of said section 31-309 from the date of the injury or October 1, 1990, whichever is later, to such October first. The cost-of-living increases provided under this subdivision shall be paid by the employer without any order or award from the commissioner. The adjustments shall apply to each payment made in the next succeeding twelve-month period commencing with the October first next succeeding the date of the injury. With respect to any dependent receiving benefits on October 1, 1997, with respect to any injury occurring on or after July 1, 1993, and before October 1, 1997, such benefit shall be recalculated to October 1, 1997, as if such benefits had been subject to recalculation annually under this subparagraph. The difference between the amount of any benefits that would have been paid to such dependent if such benefits had been subject to such recalculation and the actual amount of benefits paid during the period between such injury and such recalculation shall be paid to the dependent not later than December 1, 1997, in a lump-sum payment. The employer or its insurer shall be reimbursed by the Second Injury Fund, as provided in section 31-354, for adjustments, including lump-sum payments, payable under this subparagraph for deaths from compensable injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1993, and before October 1, 1997, upon presentation of any vouchers and information that the Treasurer shall require. No claim for payment of retroactive benefits may be made to the Second Injury Fund more than two years after the date on which the employer or its insurer paid such benefits in accordance with this subparagraph. (B) The weekly compensation rate of each dependent entitled to receive compensation under this section as a result of death arising from a compensable injury occurring on or before September 30, 1977, shall be adjusted as of October 1, 1977, and October 1, 1980, and thereafter, as provided in this subdivision to provide the dependent with partial cost-of-living adjustments in the dependent’s weekly compensation rate. As of October 1, 1977, the weekly compensation rate paid prior to October 1, 1977, to the dependent shall be increased by twenty-five per cent. The partial cost-of-living adjustment provided under this subdivision shall be paid by the employer without any order or award from the commissioner. In addition, on each October first, the weekly compensation rate of each dependent as of October 1, 1990, shall be increased by the percentage of the increase in the maximum compensation rate over the maximum compensation rate of October 1, 1990, as determined under the provisions of section 31-309 existing on October 1, 1977. The cost of the adjustments shall be paid by the employer or its insurance carrier who shall be reimbursed for such cost from the Second Injury Fund as provided in section 31-354 upon presentation of any vouchers and information that the Treasurer shall require. No claim for payment of retroactive benefits may be made to the Second Injury Fund more than two years after the date on which the employer or its insurance carrier paid such benefits in accordance with this subparagraph.

(3) If the surviving spouse is the sole presumptive dependent, compensation shall be paid until death or remarriage.

(4) If there is a presumptive dependent spouse surviving and also one or more presumptive dependent children, all of which children are either children of the surviving spouse or are living with the surviving spouse, the entire compensation shall be paid to the surviving spouse in the same manner and for the same period as if the surviving spouse were the sole dependent. If, however, any of the presumptive dependent children are neither children of the surviving spouse nor living with the surviving spouse, the compensation shall be divided into as many parts as there are presumptive dependents. The shares of any children having a presumptive dependent parent shall be added to the share of the parent and shall be paid to the parent. The share of any dependent child not having a surviving dependent parent shall be paid to the father or mother of the child with whom the child may be living, or to the legal guardian of the child, or to any other person, for the benefit of the child, as the commissioner may direct.

(5) If the compensation being paid to the surviving presumptive dependent spouse terminates for any reason, or if there is no surviving presumptive dependent spouse at the time of the death of the employee, but there is at either time one or more presumptive dependent children, the compensation shall be paid to the children as a class, each child sharing equally with the others. Each child shall receive compensation until the child reaches the age of eighteen or dies before reaching age eighteen, provided the child shall continue to receive compensation up to the attainment of the age of twenty-two if unmarried and a full-time student, except any child who has attained the age of twenty-two while a full-time student but has not completed the requirements for, or received, a degree from a postsecondary educational institution shall be deemed not to have attained age twenty-two until the first day of the first month following the end of the quarter or semester in which the child is enrolled at the time, or if the child is not enrolled in a quarter or semester system, until the first day of the first month following the completion of the course in which the child is enrolled or until the first day of the third month beginning after such time, whichever occurs first. When a child’s participation ceases, such child’s share shall be divided among the remaining eligible dependent children, provided if any child, when the child reaches the age of eighteen years, is physically or mentally incapacitated from earning, the child’s right to compensation shall not terminate but shall continue for the full period of incapacity.

(6) In all cases where there are no presumptive dependents, but where there are one or more persons wholly dependent in fact, the compensation in case of death shall be divided according to the relative degree of their dependence. Compensation payable under this subdivision shall be paid for not more than three hundred and twelve weeks from the date of the death of the employee. The compensation, if paid to those wholly dependent in fact, shall be paid at the full compensation rate. The compensation, if paid to those partially dependent in fact upon the deceased employee as of the date of the injury, shall not, in total, be more than the full compensation rate nor less than twenty dollars weekly, nor, if the average weekly sum contributed by the deceased at the date of the injury to those partially dependent in fact is more than twenty dollars weekly, not more than the sum so contributed.

(7) When the sole presumptive dependents are, at the time of the injury, nonresident aliens and the deceased has in this state some person or persons who are dependent in fact, the commissioner may in the commissioner’s discretion equitably apportion the sums payable as compensation to the dependents.

(b) The dependents of any deceased employee who was injured on or after January 1, 1974, and who subsequently dies shall be paid compensation on account of the death retroactively to the date of the employee’s death. The cost of the payment or adjustment shall be paid by the employer or its insurance carrier who shall be reimbursed for such cost from the Second Injury Fund as provided in section 31-354 upon presentation of any vouchers and information that the Treasurer shall require.

(c) (1) The dependents of any deceased employee who was injured between January 1, 1952, and December 31, 1973, and who subsequently dies, shall be paid compensation on account of the death retroactively to the date of the employee’s death. The cost of the payment or adjustment shall be paid by the employer or its insurance carrier who shall be reimbursed for such cost from the Second Injury Fund as provided in section 31-354 upon presentation of any vouchers and information that the Treasurer shall require. No claim for payment of retroactive benefits may be made to the Second Injury Fund more than two years after the date on which the employer or its insurance carrier paid such benefits in accordance with this subdivision.

(2) The dependents of any deceased employee who was injured before January 1, 1952, and who died on or before October 1, 1991, shall be paid compensation on account of the death retroactively to the date of the employee’s death. The cost of the payment or adjustment shall be paid by the employer or its insurance carrier who shall be reimbursed for such cost from the Second Injury Fund as provided in section 31-354 upon presentation of any vouchers and information that the Treasurer shall require. No claim for payment of retroactive benefits may be made to the Second Injury Fund more than two years after the date on which the employer or its insurance carrier paid such benefits in accordance with this subdivision.

(d) The dependents of any deceased employee who was injured in an accident arising out of and in the course of employment before January 1, 1952, and who died, as a result of those injuries, after October 1, 1991, shall be paid compensation, under the provisions of this section, effective as of the date of death of any such employee. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the weekly compensation rate for such dependents shall equal the amount of compensation the injured employee was receiving prior to death pursuant to section 31-307. Such weekly compensation rate shall hereafter be adjusted in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section. The cost of such payment or adjustment shall be paid by the employer or the insurance carrier of such employer who shall be reimbursed for such cost from the Second Injury Fund provided for in section 31-354. No claim for payment of retroactive benefits may be made to the Second Injury Fund more than two years after the date on which the employer or its insurance carrier paid such benefits in accordance with this subsection.

(1949 Rev., S. 7428, 7429; 1949, 1951, 1953, 1955, S. 3042d; 1957, P.A. 463, S. 1; 1958 Rev., S. 31-159, 31-160; 1959, P.A. 580, S. 5, 22; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 29; 1967, P.A. 842, S. 12, 13; P.A. 77-554, S. 1; P.A. 78-369; P.A. 80-124, S. 2; 80-284, S. 2; 80-329; P.A. 84-453; P.A. 88-92; P.A. 89-68, S. 1; P.A. 91-32, S. 21, 41; 91-339, S. 25; P.A. 92-31, S. 4, 7; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-11, S. 54, 70; P.A. 93-228, S. 15, 35; P.A. 97-205, S. 3; P.A. 98-104, S. 2, 6; P.A. 01-162, S. 1, 2; P.A. 05-199, S. 2—4.)

History: 1959 act replaced previous provisions and was in turn replaced by provisions of 1961 act; 1967 act increased payments for burial expenses from $500 to $1,000 in all cases where previously $1,000 payment was given to father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter of deceased in Subsec. (a) and raised weekly compensation allowed in Subsec. (b) from 60% to 66.66% of deceased’s average weekly earnings; P.A. 77-554 increased burial payments to $1,500 and deleted requirement that death must have occurred within six years of date of injury or first manifestation of occupational disease symptoms in Subsec. (b), added provisions re cost-of-living adjustments in Subsec. (b) and amended Subsec. (c) to allow compensation to widows and widowers on same basis where previously widowers’ payments terminated after 312 weeks; P.A. 78-369 reorganized Subsecs., designating former Subsecs. (a) to (h) as Subdivs. (1) to (8) under Subsec. (b) and deleted former Subsec. (i) re reduction of compensation period by the period for which payments were made to deceased if death occurred more than two years from date of injury or manifestation of disease symptoms; P.A. 80-124 specified in Subsec. (b)(2) that time of injury is date of incapacity to work because of disease in cases involving occupational disease; P.A. 80-284 added Subsec. (a)(4) re unmarried children, rephrased Subsec. (b)(5) accordingly and deleted Subdiv. (6); P.A. 80-329 added provisions re cost-of-living adjustments as of October 1, 1980; P.A. 84-453 amended Subsec. (b)(1) to increase burial expense benefits from $1,500 to $3,000; P.A. 88-92 amended Subsec. (b)(1) to increase burial expense benefits from three to $4,000; P.A. 89-68 added Subsec. (c) providing for the payment of compensation to dependents of deceased employees who were injured on or after January 1, 1974, and who died not later than December 31, 1981; P.A. 91-32 deleted existing Subsec. (a) which had detailed persons to be considered wholly dependent on a deceased employee, relettering remaining Subsecs. accordingly and made technical changes; P.A. 91-339 changed the weekly compensation allowed in Subsec. (a)(2) from 66.66% of average weekly earnings to 80% of average weekly earnings reduced by deductions for federal taxes and FICA; P.A. 92-31 amended Subsec. (a)(1) to provide that burial expenses shall be paid in any case where the employee died on or after October 1, 1988, amended Subsec. (a)(2) to provide that cost-of-living increases shall be calculated using a percentage instead of a dollar amount, and amended Subsec. (b) to authorize the payment of compensation to dependents of deceased employees who died not later than November 1, 1991; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-11 added Subsec. (c) (Revisor’s note: A reference to “second injury and compensation assurance fund” was changed editorially by the Revisors to read “second injury fund” for consistency with section 38 of public act 91-32); P.A. 93-228 amended Subsec. (a)(2) to decrease weekly compensation benefits for dependents of deceased employee from 80% to 75% of deceased’s average weekly earnings, to require that state taxes be deducted in calculating such earnings, and to eliminate cost-of-living adjustments for dependents of deceased employees injured on or after July 1, 1993, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 97-205 amended Subsec. (a)(2) to reinstate cost-of-living adjustments to benefits received for injuries occurring on or after July 1, 1993, and before October 1, 1997; P.A. 98-104 increased the annual cost-of-living adjustment on workers’ compensation benefits paid to those dependent upon a deceased employee who died of on-the-job injuries prior to October 1, 1990, effective July 1, 1998; P.A. 01-162 made technical changes in Subsecs. (a) and (b), added new Subsec. (c) re compensation to dependents of any deceased employee who was injured between January 1, 1952, and December 31, 1973, and compensation to dependents of any deceased employee who was injured before January 1, 1952, and who died on or before October 1, 1991, and redesignated existing Subsec. (c) as Subsec. (d), making a technical change therein, effective July 6, 2001; P.A. 05-199 amended Subsecs. (a), (c) and (d) to require claims for payment of retroactive benefits to be made to Second Injury Fund not more than two years after payment by employer or insurer, effective July 1, 2006.

Status of dependent in fact involves three factual elements: (1) Reliance on contributions of decedent for necessary living expenses, (2) a reasonable expectation that the contributions will continue, (3) an absence of sufficient means at hand for meeting these expenses; the first two are fixed at the time of injury and consequently the measure of dependence in Sec. 31-315 can change from that existing at the time of the injury only if there is a subsequent change in the financial resources of the claimant. 152 C. 481. Where commissioner found claimant was partial dependent at time of injury but subsequently received sufficient funds from other sources to supply her present necessities, commissioner correctly concluded that, although claimant was dependent in fact at time of injury, her “measure of dependence” had changed before the time of the hearing and consequently defendants were relieved from paying compensation to her unless and until she showed a further change in circumstances. Id., 481, 482. An award to a dependent in fact as well as to a presumptive dependent is an award of compensation and subject to modification under Sec. 31-315. Id. Question of dependency is one of fact not subject to review unless ascertained through an illegal standard or based on no evidence. 156 C. 245. Cited. 187 C. 53; 207 C. 665; 208 C. 576. Elimination of waiting period not accorded retroactive application. 209 C. 219. Cited. 213 C. 54. Concurrent payment of benefits for death caused by heart disease under this section and benefits for permanent partial impairment of one’s heart under Sec. 31-308(d) is prohibited. 217 C. 50. Cited. 219 C. 28; 223 C. 336; 224 C. 382; 229 C. 587; 232 C. 311. Employee, in settling claim, has the authority to compromise the compensation rights of dependents and a clear and unequivocal expression of intent to do so by the employee will bar a claim under section. 239 C. 19. Health insurance coverage is not considered “compensation”, and employer is not required to provide health insurance coverage to surviving dependent of deceased employee. 285 C. 778.

Cited. 3 CA 162; 21 CA 63; 32 CA 595; 34 CA 307; 37 CA 835; 38 CA 73; Id., 754; 43 CA 737; 44 CA 112. Testimony of even the most persuasive expert witness cannot be credited if it is not based on facts, and therefore decision of board affirming commissioner’s award of benefits to widow reversed because there were insufficient subordinate facts to support medical witness’s opinion that decedent’s death was causally related to the compensable injury or to remove the cause of death from the realm of conjecture. 99 CA 336.

Subsec. (a):

Cited. 206 C. 242. Subdiv. (2)(A) does not require Special Injury Fund to reimburse municipal employer for cost-of-living adjustments paid in connection with a claim for benefits under Heart and Hypertension Act in Sec. 7-433c which benefits are special compensation and are not workers compensation benefits for purposes of reimbursement and such a result does not deny employers a protected property interest without due process of law. 269 C. 763. Subdiv. (4): Superseding cause doctrine applies under Workers’ Compensation Act, and board properly found that superseding events broke chain of proximate causation between decedent’s compensable work injuries and his death. 305 C. 360.

Subdiv. (2)(A): Formula devised in 239 C. 676 for calculating cost of living increases to total disability benefits also applies to calculation of cost of living increases to survivors’ benefits under Subdiv. from October 1, 1995, through June 30, 1998. 63 CA 370. Subdiv. (4): Decedent’s death, which resulted from an accidental overdose of medication, is not compensable under section because there was no evidence to establish that decedent’s depression and subsequent prescription for the medication which caused the overdose were related to his compensable injuries. 123 CA 18; judgment affirmed on alternate grounds, see 305 C. 360.

Subsec. (b):

Subdiv. (6) cited. 206 C. 242.

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State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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