Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits for Federal Employees

Today we got a call from someone who needed to know the answer to this question after the tragedy at the Navy Yard. This horrible event has affected our entire community and the fact is, people need this information. We provided the answer after searching for it online It was not exactly easy to find, so we decided to post this in hopes that anyone else searching for this information will find it more easily.

It is important to note that the dependents of federal employees DO get some portion of the employees pay in this tragic situation. Dependents should apply for that benefit immediately to assure the household income of the federal employee will not abruptly end. Workers’ Compensation exists to provide income to an employee, or his or her dependents, after an injury on the job.

Our office does not handle Federal or DC Workers’ Compensation Claims. We only handle Maryland Workers’ Compensation claims. But we will be happy to give as much information as we can to help those who need it. We know a good local attorney who handles DC claims, and we can help you interpret the requirements for the federal system.  Feel free to call us if you need guidance.

The Federal Workers’ Compensation system has defined benefits, and they are listed on line at the Department of Labor website.  Here is the section from that website (copied word for word) regarding death benefits.

Compensation for Death

If no child is eligible for benefits, the widow or widower’s compensation is 50 percent of the employee’s pay at the time of death, if death was due to the employment-related injury or disease. If a child or children are eligible for benefits, the widow or widower is entitled to 45 percent of the pay and each child is entitled to 15 percent. If children are the sole survivors, 40 percent is paid for the first child and 15 percent for each additional child, to be shared equally. Other persons such as dependent parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and grandchildren may also be entitled to benefits.The total compensation may not exceed 75 percent of the employee’s pay or the pay of the highest step for GS-15 of the General Schedule, except when such excess is created by authorized cost-of-living increases.

Compensation to an employee’s surviving spouse terminates upon his or her death or remarriage. A widow or widower’s benefits continue, however, if the remarriage takes place after the age of 55. Awards to children, brothers, sisters and grandchildren terminate at the age of 18, unless the dependent is incapable of self-support, or continues to be a full-time student at an accredited institution, until he or she reaches the age of 23, or has completed four years of education beyond the high school level.

Burial expenses not to exceed $800 are payable. Transportation of the body to the employee’s former residence in the United States is provided where death occurs away from the employee’s home station. In addition to any burial expenses or transportation costs, a $200 allowance is paid for the administrative costs of terminating an employee’s status with the Federal Government.

About Southern Maryland Law


Andrews, Bongar, Gormley & Clagett is one of the oldest and largest law firms in Southern Maryland. We have been serving clients here for over 50 years. We have more attorneys and a larger staff than most other local law firms, so we can handle a wider variety of legal matters. Each attorney concentrates his or her practice in a few key areas, so you can be assured of the expertise you need.


But we are not so big that we forget about personal service! Your legal matter is unique, and requires a personalized approach. We will always remember that. If you have a legal issue, contact us today to schedule your consultation.