New Mexico Mutual

Death Benefits

In the event an employee is killed as the result of a work related injury or illness, death benefits will be paid to qualified dependents.

Death Benefits are limited to:

  • Burial expenses up to $7,500.00
  • Up to 700 weeks of monetary benefits paid to the qualified dependents. The amount of these benefits will not exceed the employee’s compensation rate
    • The compensation rate is calculated by obtaining the pre-injury average weekly wage (AWW) and multiplying it by sixty-six and two-thirds percent. However, the benefit level cannot be higher than yearly maximum benefit. This amount is determined each year by the state Department of Labor. In most instances it can not be less than $36.00 a week.
    • AWW is calculated by adding the total pre tax wages paid to the worker during the 26 weeks preceding the injury. If 26 weeks of wages are not available then the average weekly wage is based on the total amount of wages earned during the term of employment, and dividing by the total number of week employed.
    • EXAMPLE: Bob falls from scaffolding. As a result of his injuries Bob passes away. He is survived by a wife and no children. His pre-injury AWW is determined to be $500.00. Bob’s widow will receive death benefits at a weekly rate of $333.35 ($500.00 x 66.67%).

Who qualifies as a dependent, and what number of weeks of benefits each dependent is allowed to receive is outlined in Statute 52-1-46. Following is a copy of this Statute. As can be seen, it is a very involved Statute. We recommend contacting the Workers’ Compensation Administration for assistance.

52-1-46. Compensation benefits for death.

Subject to the limitation of compensation payable under Subsection G of this section, if an accidental injury sustained by a worker proximately results in his death within the period of two years following his accidental injury, compensation shall be paid in the amount and to the persons entitled thereto as follows:

  1. if there are no eligible dependents, except as provided in Subsection C of Section 52-1-10 NMSA 1978 of the Workers’ Compensation Act, the compensation shall be limited to the funeral expenses, not to exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500), and the expenses provided for medical and hospital services for the deceased, together with all other sums which the deceased should have been paid for up to the time of his death;
  2. if there are eligible dependents at the time of the worker’s death, payment shall consist of a sum not to exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500) for funeral expenses and expenses provided for medical and hospital services for the deceased, together with such other sums as the deceased should have been paid for up to the time of his death and compensation benefits to the eligible dependents as hereinafter specified, subject to the limitations on maximum periods of recovery provided in Sections 52-1-41 through 52-1-43 and 52-1-47 NMSA 1978;
  3. if there are eligible dependents entitled thereto, compensation shall be paid to the dependents or to the person authorized by the director or appointed by the court to receive the same for the benefit of the dependents in such portions and amounts, to be computed and distributed as follows:
    1. to the child or children, if there is no widow or widower entitled to compensation, sixty-six and two-thirds percent of the average weekly wage of the deceased;
    2. to the widow or widower, if there are no children, sixty-six and two-thirds percent of the average weekly wage of the deceased, until remarriage; or
    3. to the widow or widower, if there is a child or children living with the widow or widower, forty-five percent of the average weekly wage of the deceased, or forty percent if such child is not or all such children are not living with a widow or widower and, in addition thereto, compensation benefits for the child or children which shall make the total benefits for the widow or widower and child or children sixty-six and two-thirds percent of the average weekly wage of the deceased. When there are two or more children, the compensation benefits payable on account of such children shall be divided among such children, share and share alike; and
    4. two years’ compensation benefits in one lump sum shall be payable to a widow or widower upon remarriage; however, the total benefits shall not exceed the maximum compensation benefit as provided in Subsection B of this section;
  4. if there is neither widow, widower nor children, compensation may be paid to the father and mother or the survivor of them, if dependent to any extent upon the worker for support at the time of the worker’s death, twenty-five percent of the average weekly wage of the deceased, and in no event shall the maximum compensation to such dependents exceed the amounts contributed by the deceased worker for their care; provided that if the father and mother or the survivor of them was totally dependent upon such worker for support at the time of the worker’s death, he or they shall be entitled to fifty percent of the average weekly wage of the deceased;
  5. if there is neither widow, widower nor children nor dependent parent, then to the brothers and sisters and grandchildren if actually dependent to any extent upon the deceased worker for support at the time of the worker’s death, thirty-five percent of the average weekly wage of the deceased worker with fifteen percent additional for brothers and sisters and grandchildren in excess of two, with a maximum of sixty-six and two-thirds percent of the average weekly wage of the deceased, and in no event shall the maximum compensation to partial dependents exceed the respective amounts contributed by the deceased worker for their care;
  6. in the event of the death or remarriage of the widow or widower entitled to compensation benefits as provided in this section, the surviving children shall then be entitled to compensation benefits computed and paid as provided in Paragraph (1) of Subsection C of this section for the remainder of the compensable period. In the event compensation benefits payable to children as provided in this section are terminated as provided in Subsection E of Section 52-1-17 NMSA 1978, a surviving widow or widower shall then be entitled to compensation benefits computed and paid as provided in Paragraphs (2) and (4) of Subsection C of this section for the remainder of the compensable period; and
  7. no compensation benefits payable by reason of a worker’s death shall exceed the maximum weekly compensation benefits as provided in Sections 52-1-41 through 52-1-43 and 52-1-47 NMSA 1978, and no dependent or any class thereof, other than a widow, widower or children, shall in any event be paid total benefits in excess of seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500) exclusive of funeral expenses and the expenses provided for medical and hospital services for the deceased paid for by the employer.