Following the deaths of two workers last month at Boston construction and shipping sites, Senator Brian A. Joyce and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) are renewing their calls for passage of Joyce’s Bill, "The Families of Fallen Workers Burial Act," which would double the benefit amount paid by workers’ compensation when a loved one is killed at work.
“The amount paid out to grieving families has remained stagnant for decades while the cost of a burial has risen steadily,” said Joyce. “These families are going through enough already without the additional stress of coming up with thousands of dollars to put their loved ones to rest.”
According to the 2010 funeral price survey by the National Funeral Directors Association, the average funeral cost for an adult funeral is $7,775. With cemetery plot, grave marker, flowers or obituary notices, the “regular adult funeral” cost is at least $9,000. Joyce’s bill would increase the benefits allotment from $4,000 to roughly $8,000 (eight times the average weekly wage in the Commonwealth) and tie future increases to inflation.
“The Families of Fallen Workers Burial Act will ensure that no family has to shoulder the financial burden of a burial,” said MassCOSH Executive Director Marcy Goldstein-Gelb. “The increase adds up to very little for the workers’ compensation insurance system and will mean a huge difference...