Death benefits and Foreign (Alien) Dependents


In the unfortunate and tragic death caused by a work accident, the deceased employee’s spouse or children may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  O.C.G.A. § 34-9-13.  There was an issue as to whether alien or foreign dependents were limited or excluded from these death benefits.  The Workers’ Compensation Act (prior to 1995) made an unlawful distinction between dependents who are US Citizens and foreign dependents.  Essentially, the law limited the non-resident death benefits to $1,000.    This section of the workers’ compensation code was challenged and the Supreme Court of Georgia struck down provision.  See, Barge-Wagener Construction v. Morales, 263 Ga. 190 (1993), cert denied, 510 U.S. 1003 (1993).

Since then, the workers’ compensation law was amended to delete the distinction between non-resident and resident dependents.  Therefore, issues of citizenship and residency are not relevant or applicable to determining the entitlement of workers’ compensation dependency benefits.  O.C.G.A. § 34-9-265

If you have any questions about death or dependency benefits, please contact Ramos & Law at 404-355-3431.