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Girlfriend not eligible for death benefits

South Carolina

The Supreme Court of South Carolina on Wednesday ruled that the live-in girlfriend of a man who drowned while operating a boat for a historic plantation museum is not eligible for death benefits because she could not prove dependency.

Instead, the court awarded the man’s mother death benefits as she could prove she depended on the $50 to $60 a month he provided her, reversing an earlier Court of Appeals ruling, according to documents in York v. Longlands Plantation, filed in Columbia.

The state Supreme Court, relying on testimony that the woman had removed the man from the home periodically and evidence that she did not rely on him for “reasonable necessities of life,” and did not file joint tax returns, ruled that the woman did not meet the legal requirements for dependency, according to documents.

An earlier state Workers’ Compensation Commission decision also denied her benefits but relied on the state’s fornication statutes to determine the pair was in an “illicit relationship” and that she could not qualify for benefits as a result, according to documents. The Court of Appeals had reversed, basing the decision on the lack of “fornication on the record,” documents state.  








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