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Should able-bodied adult children be eligible for their parent’s WC death benefits?

The answer to that question, according to Associated Industries of Missouri is, “No!”

But a recent Missouri Supreme Court decision (Casey v. Cody) held that 8 able-bodied adult children of a worker that had mesothelioma was entitled to workers’ compensation special mesothelioma death benefits.

While other workers’ compensation statutes clearly provide such benefits only to dependent children, the law that was changed as part of the Second Injury Fund changes in 2014 did not contain the same language as other work comp statutes. Because the language allowed the death benefits to be paid to “children” rather than “dependents,” the Court held the 8 adult children were entitled to benefits from the deceased workers’ claim.

SB 316, sponsored by Sen. Eric Burlison, was filed to correct this issue and to allow such benefits only to dependents. That term is defined to include children with disabilities that may not be minors, but are dependent on their parents through no fault of their own. AIM supports correcting this language.

The bill advanced from the Senate Committee on Insurance and Banking this week on a 6-1 vote. The bill will now be considered by the full Senate.

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