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Pennsylvania: Self-Employed Spouse Fails to Show He Was Dependent upon Deceased Employee after Couple Separated

January 05, 2018 (1 min read)

A self-employed spouse, who separated from his wife two years before her work-related death is not entitled to workers’ compensation dependency benefits as he failed to show that he received a substantial portion of support from his estranged wife at the time of her death, held a Pennsylvania appellate court. The claimant did receive health care benefits, in the form of health insurance provided through his wife’s employment, but he failed to show that he could not have provided his own insurance coverage, had they actually divorced, rather than simply lived apart. The court also noted that the issue was not whether the deceased employee provided support for the couple’s children, but whether she provided it to her separated spouse. The couple continued to file joint tax returns after their separation and the claimant showed a negative annual income for at least one year of his self-employment, but that was not conclusive as to the support he received. He paid for a rental apartment as well as his own personal expenses. There was an insufficient showing that claimant was actually dependent upon the deceased.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Grimm v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd., 2018 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 26 (Jan. 4, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 96.06.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law