Substitute Senate Bill No. 1389

Public Act No. 01-162

AN ACT CONCERNING DEPENDENTS OF DECEASED WORKERS' COMPENSATION RECIPIENTS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 31-306 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(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 [where] 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 [his] 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 [his] 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 [which] 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 [his] 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. (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 [his] 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 [his] its insurance carrier who shall be reimbursed [therefor] 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.

(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 [he] the child is enrolled at the time, or if [he] 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 [he] 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, [his] such child's share shall be divided among the remaining eligible dependent children, provided if any child, when [he] the child reaches the age of eighteen years, is physically or mentally incapacitated from earning, [his] 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 [his] 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 [died not later than November 1, 1991,] 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 [his] its insurance carrier who shall be reimbursed [therefor] 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.

(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.

[(c)] (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 [therefor] for such cost from the Second Injury Fund provided for in section 31-354.

Sec. 2. This act shall take effect from its passage.

Approved July 6, 2001