Weekly compensation rates are stagnant, the weekly amount will never change because there is no cost of living adjustment permitted or required by law. And so if the weekly amount your receive today is $400.00 then in twenty years it will still be $400.00 per week. The amount doesn’t change. So what does that mean to you? It means that inflation eats away at the purchasing power of the widow’s weekly compensation payments.

Remarriage while receiving lifetime workers’ compensation benefits is an absolute killer of what you receive and how long you will receive it. Remarriage takes the weekly payment and converts it into a single check equal to two-years of benefits. So that $400.00 per week check is paid out in one check worth $41,600.00. And if that marriage ends in divorce you don’t get a do-over. Meaning, that’s it the insurer is still off the hook and you are SOL.

A youngish widow or widower could receive a much larger amount if the award was simply commuted into a lump sum. Commuted, or commuting, means take the $400.00 lifetime stream of income and convert it to a single lump sum check. That $400.00 weekly stream of income could very easily be $100,000.00 lump sum check. Even with paying a lawyer one-third contingent fee and deducting a few thousand dollars for expert opinions you would receive a lot more than $41,600.00. At $150,000.00 the advantage is more obvious. And at $300,000.00 the advantage is clear evident.

The most costly thing you can do is not get advice when you are considering remarriage and already receive weekly compensation benefits after your spouse dies in a work related accident. It costs more to not get advice then what it will cost you to get advice. Call us! Now! Steve Lombardi, Iowa workers' compensation lawyer for over 35 years.

In another blog I wrote, “In all fairness some people should not have a lump sum because their ability to handle money is so bad that they would waste it. Other people receiving weekly benefits for life just want the weekly supplement and find the idea of managing money too much work. That’s okay, if you are satisfied with weekly benefits don’t change, but know what you are giving up.”

But in situations where remarriage is contemplated this advice goes right out the window and is no longer useful. Because with remarriage you have no choice but to either commute or have it forced on you. Convert before you are engaged or else you will be forced by law to accept a much lower amount.

So to conclude this blog, get advice about the risks and benefits of converting your weekly workers’ compensation check into one lump sum of money before the engagement. Don’t accept a marriage proposal before you talk to me about how that “yes” can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then you will be able to decide which is right for your and know when to act if your marital status might change.

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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