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Changes to Oregon’s workers compensation law on who qualifies for death benefits are set to go into effect in 2023, according to an announcement issued Monday by the state Workers’ Compensation Division.
In accordance with H.B. 4086, which was signed into law this year, the changes broadened the definition of a surviving relative to include a parent, a parent’s spouse or domestic partner; a grandparent, a grandparent’s spouse or domestic partner; a grandchild, a grandchild’s spouse or domestic partner; siblings and stepsiblings; sibling’s or stepsibling’s spouse or domestic partner; and “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with a worker is the equivalent of a family relationship.”
The bill also removed two exceptions to who qualifies as a beneficiary: dependents who are noncitizens that reside outside of the United States and spouses who are “living in a state of abandonment.”
Current state law narrows those who qualify to as dependents, including a parent, grandparent, or stepparent, a grandson or granddaughter, a brother, sister, half-brother, or half-sister, or a niece or nephew. Cohabitating partners who lived with the deceased for more than a year also qualified — the new law does not include the one-year stipulation but states that a cohabitating partner qualifies if they meet other state laws for what constitutes such an arrangement.