How to make a claim for payments following a work‐related death

The process of making a claim for compensation after a family member loses their life at work.

Date last updated

Friday 03 Jul 2020

Industries and topics
  • Claims

How to make a claim for payments

You will need to complete the Claim for compensation following a work-related death form to claim for the following:

  • payment or reimbursement of medical and like expenses
    • a lump sum and weekly pension payments

      Who are dependants and non‐dependants?

      A dependant is someone who is reliant, to some extent, on the income of the worker at the time of the work‐related death. Dependants usually include the partner and/or children of the deceased worker.

      Some people may also qualify as 'dependants' and be entitled to payments if the worker did not have a dependent partner or dependent children at the time of death.

      If you have questions about whether your child is considered a dependant, you can talk to your WorkSafe agent or contact WorkSafe Advisory service on 1800 136 089.

      Non‐dependant reimbursements

      If you have lost an immediate family member, for example your sibling or an adult child, and you have experienced financial hardship as a result of the death you may be able to be reimbursed for some of the expenses you have incurred. You will need to make an application with the Magistrates' Court so you should speak to a lawyer about how to do this.

      Information to provide with the claim form

      When making your claim, you should provide as much additional information as you can. If you can't provide a particular document, or it's not available yet, that's okay. We will ask for it later.

      Some of things we will need:

      • a death certificate
        • joint financial records such as bank accounts
          • documents about your relationship with the person who lost their life such as a marriage certificate or mortgage or Title documents
            • details of any other person you believe may be eligible to receive payments in respect to the deceased worker

              How many claims forms do I need to submit?

              Each family unit (such as your family member's sibling and their partner and children) will need to complete one claim form.

              Only one claim form is required if you are claiming on behalf of your child or children as well as for yourself.

              If there are children from previous relationships, a separate claim form must be lodged by the children's guardian.

              Assistance completing the claim form

              WorkSafe and the WorkSafe agents can assist in answering any questions you have and help you physically fill out the claim form in person when we visit or over the phone. If you would like to get in touch and ask for assistance, call our WorkSafe Advisory service 1800 136 089.

              Alternatively, if your family member was a member of a union, that union may be able to assist you. For union support, please contact Union Assist on (03) 9639 6144.

              If you require an interpreter, please advise the WorkSafe Advisory service when you call.

              When should I lodge my claim form?

              A claim form must be completed and should be lodged with the deceased worker's employer as soon as possible, and within two years after the date of their death. By law, the employer cannot refuse to receive the claim form.

              Difficulty lodging the claim

              If you have any difficulty lodging the claim form with the employer, you can lodge the claim form directly to WorkSafe.

              If you would like assistance in lodging a claim form, please contact WorkSafe Advisory service.

              What happens after lodging a claim?

              The WorkSafe agent, with help from an external legal firm, will assess and determine your claim.

              They will be looking at:

              • whether the deceased person was a 'worker' under Victorian workers' compensation legislation
                • if the death arose out of or in the course of employment (work‐related)
                  • whether employment was a significant contributing factor where required

                    It also means determining whether the person making the claim was a 'dependant' of the worker within the meaning of the Victorian workers' compensation legislation.

                    How long will a WorkSafe agent take to determine liability?

                    Regardless of the type of entitlements you are claiming, the WorkSafe agent will usually determine liability for the claim within 90 days of receiving the claim form from the employer. If more time is needed, the WorkSafe agent and their legal firm will discuss this with you or your legal representative if you have one.

                    If the WorkSafe agent accepts liability for your claim, the agent will:

                    • make payments of medical and like expenses once they have received relevant invoices and or receipts
                      • commence payment of a weekly pension to eligible dependants
                        • assess and determine the dependants' entitlement to lump sum payments

                          In cases involving children or a person living with a disability, the Magistrates' Court must determine a claim for entitlements. Before lodging your claim form, you may want to consider legal advice and or representation.

                          What if the agent rejects the claim?

                          If the agent rejects liability for your claim, they will write to you (or your legal representative if you have one) outlining the reasons for the rejection and your appeal rights.

                          Who pays for standard legal work if a claim is accepted?

                          When a claim for a work‐related death is accepted, a WorkSafe agent will generally pay the reasonable costs of standard legal work performed. This will include, when required, any court involvement. However, there may be additional legal costs incurred.

                          You should clarify legal costs with the lawyer before engaging their services.

                          Need additional support?

                          We are here to help you throughout a very difficult time. If you need further assistance, please contact us on 1800 136 089.

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