Benefits: Death Benefits: Dependents


Walters v. Flathead Concrete Products, Inc. [03/16/11] 2011 MT 45 A non-dependent beneficiary parent demonstrated sufficient interest to challenge whether the quid pro quo of the WCA satisfied substantive due process, where she received minimal payment compared to wage loss benefits paid to a dependent parent.  However, the Legislature clearly intended to limit wage loss benefits to people who depended upon the worker’s wages - those made most vulnerable by the worker’s death.

Simons-Tollefson v. State Compensation Insurance Fund [2/16/00] 2000 MTWCC 7 Insurer moved to dismiss petition for benefits filed on behalf of minor child of deceased worker on ground that 39-71-601, MCA (1992) requires written claim "within 12 months...either by the claimant or someone legally authorized to act for him in his behalf." Against the background of case law and other statutes, WCC held no one was legally authorized to act for the minor until a guardian or guardian ad litem had been appointed for the purpose of seeking workers' compensation benefits, even though the minor's mother was authorized to act on his behalf in other contexts. Where a guardian had not yet been appointed, the statute had not yet commenced and the motion to dismiss was denied.