Circumstances show claimant, decedent were 'living with' each other
Williams, deceased v. Home Alert Management Co., 25 PAWCLR 104 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2010).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board upheld a workers' compensation judge's grant of the claimant's fatal claim petition.
What it means: When a husband and wife dwell in separate houses for convenience or other reasonable motive without estrangement and with constant recognition of the marital tie, they can be found to be "living with" each other for purposes of establishing a claim for death benefits.
The claimant's husband suffered fatal work-related injuries. The claimant and the decedent resided together until they were evicted from their apartment. Each temporarily moved in with their respective fathers. The claimant filed a fatal claim petition, alleging that she was totally dependent on the decedent for support at the time of his death. The WCJ granted the petition, finding that they were living together as a matter of law because they cohabited regularly on weekends, spent part of every day together, and were planning to move back in together when economics permitted. The WCJ also determined that the decedent was providing substantial support to the claimant by paying for her cell phone and a storage locker. The board concluded that the WCJ properly granted the claimant's fatal claim petition.
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September 13, 2010
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