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Claiming when someone dies at work

If someone dies at work or from a work-related injury or illness, you may be able to claim for dependency.

Can I claim?

If you’re a family member of the person who has died, such as their husband, wife, de facto spouse, or child, you may be able to claim.

If you’re not related but you’re dependent on somebody who has died at work, you might also be able to claim. A ‘dependant’ is defined under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

Lodging a claim with self-insured employers

If the deceased person's employer is self-insured, you should contact their workers’ compensation unit directly.

What am I able to claim?

Compensation when somebody has died might be a lump sum, quarterly payments or even help with funeral costs.

We know losing someone is a very difficult time. WorkCover and The Office of Industrial Relations are here to support you through it.

What should I do first?

Because these types of claims are very sensitive, you should call us on 1300 362 128 so we can speak to you personally and walk you through your claim application. It’s a good idea to ask a friend or someone else in your family to support you as well.

We understand that dealing with formalities is hard at such a challenging time. We’re here to help you. Providing us with the information we need means we can work out your claim for you as quickly and as easily as possible.

What does WorkCover need to know?

If you’re making a claim, we’ll need you to show:

  • the cause of the person’s death
  • your relationship to the person who has died
  • your dependence on the person who has died.

To make it easier to understand, we’ve outlined exactly what we need as evidence in the sections below.

We’ve also provided a guide to help you (PDF, 0.07 MB). You can always call us if any of this is confusing and you’d rather speak to somebody.

If you’re making a claim after someone has died at work, you’ll need to give us a workers’ compensation medical certificate that shows the person’s cause of death.

If you’re not able to give us this we’ll need one of the following:

  • the autopsy (post mortem) report
  • the person’s death certificate
  • the Coroner’s Inquest report.

To be able to make a claim after somebody has died at work, you’ll need to show you’re either a member of their family and/or were dependent on them.

To prove you’re a member of their family you can provide us with:

  • for a wife or husband—your marriage certificate
  • for a defacto spouse—proof of your defacto relationship, for example;
    • joint bank accounts
    • documents showing you owned property together
    • electricity or other bills in both your names
  • for a dependent child, whether a child or grandchild of the person who has died—a birth certificate
  • for a dependent child over the age of 16—proof of full-time education
  • for a foster child—relevant documentation from the Department of Children's Services.

If you’re claiming you were dependent on the person who has died, we need to work out the value of that dependence (how much you depended on them). This is important so we can get your claim right for you.

To work it out, we look at things like:

  • tax returns for you and the person who died, for the three years before their death
  • any child support details
  • bank statements from you and the person who died that show:
    • money being transferred from the deceased person's account to your account
    • payments for things like groceries and bills
    • your income.

We may also take a statement that covers:

  • the circumstances of the dependence (i.e. how long, how it came about)
  • how you shared day to day expenses
  • whether you owned any property together.
  • whether you suffer from any disability
  • an estimate of how much the loss of dependence is worth to you
  • how long the dependency would have continued if the person had not died
  • any other proof that the deceased person was supporting you financially.

A ‘latent onset injury’ is a condition caused by exposure to something (e.g. the sun or a chemical) but that takes a long time to make a person sick. Examples of this are skin cancer and mesothelioma.

If you’re making a claim for someone who has died from a latent onset injury, we need to work out whether they were a worker when they were exposed to whatever caused their illness.

Some things that will help us do this are:

  • a statement from you about the deceased person's work history and relevant exposure
  • tax returns, payslips or other employment documents dated during the period of exposure.

If there are no documents available that prove employment, we can take statements from co-workers.

Other documents we might need

WorkCover will ask for the following after someone has died at work:

  • the Will of the person who has died, if they have one
  • Grant of Probate if there is one—this document is issued by the Supreme Court
  • Letters of Administration if there is one—this document is issued by the Supreme Court when the person died without a Will.

Other support

The Consultative Committee for Work-Related Fatalities and Serious Incidents was set up to make sure there is an ongoing forum for injured workers and families affected by a death in the workplace.

Learn more about what help is available if someone dies at work.

If you have any other questions about fatal claims, call us on 1300 362 128.