Senate Passes MACo’s Compromise on Death Benefits

The Senate passed Senate Bill 212 (45-0) regarding workers’ compensation death dependent benefits with amendments MACo advocated during bill hearings. MACo had asked for a local “opt in” provision for public safety employees, who are treated differently under the proposed benefits than other employees, and the Senate has now accepted this facet of the bill to retain local discretion.

The main segment of legislation removes the distinction between a “wholly” and “partially” dependent individual, when determining death benefit calculations for employers covered under workers’ compensation.  It sets a 12-year cap on benefits subject to certain exceptions, provide benefits for dependents who are not spouses or children, raises the allowance for funeral benefits, and expands the definition of a dependent.  The Senate bill includes the MACo amendment for an “opt in” provision for county governments based on concerns over how the new benefits systems would interact with existing death benefit provisions for dependents of covered employees subject to a public safety occupational disease presumption.

The House Economic Matters Committee has yet to take action on the cross file of the bill, House Bill 417.

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