Last updated Feb. 12, 2018.
You may experience a number of financial strains as the result of the death of a loved one in an accident in Ontario. Statutory Accident Benefits, including Death and Funeral Benefits, are intended to help alleviate some of this economic stress for you and your family.
Ontario insurance and injury law recognizes while no amount of money can make up for the death of a loved one, survivors should not face undue financial burden. You must complete and submit an OCF-4: Death and Funeral Benefits Application if you wish to recover such compensation and/or reimbursement. Submitting a complete and accurate OCF-4 may improve your chances of securing a fair and timely benefits package.
Below are five tips to assist you in this process.
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Tip 1: Understand the Benefits Available
The Death and Funeral Payments Benefit is divided into two payment types. Death benefits are paid as a lump sum, with the value being anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on familial relationship and the details of the insurance policy. Funeral benefits are provided as a reimbursement for accrued expenses valued at between $6,000 to $8,000.
Details on death benefits are as follows:
- $25,000 or $50,000 in death benefits for a surviving spouse;
- $25,000 to equally share among dependants when there is no surviving spouse;
- $10,000 or $20,000 in death benefits if you were dependant upon the deceased; and
- $10,000 in death benefits may be available in certain cases where a dependant has died in an auto accident.
The maximum allowable benefits depend on the optional-benefits policy purchased under which the deceased was insured and whether additional coverage is available. A lawyer can help you assess the applicable policy and determine all available compensation.
For information on Canada Pension Plan death benefits, click here.
Tip 2: Determine if You Qualify for Survivor Benefits
The Death and Funeral Payments Benefit is available only to qualified survivors. You may qualify for the benefit if the deceased victim was:
- your spouse;
- your former spouse upon whom you were financially dependant owing to court-mandated maintenance or support;
- someone upon whom you were dependant (for instance, a parent or legal guardian); or
- someone who was dependent upon you (for example, a child).
To qualify for payment, the deceased victim must have died within 180 days of the motor vehicle accident or within 156 weeks of the crash if his or her injuries resulted in disability during that period.
Tip 3: Complete an Application for Accident Benefits
You also should submit a completed Application for Accident Benefits in addition to the OCF-4; this is necessary even if you are not seeking other types of benefits.
The Application for Accident Benefits and OCF-4 include detailed information about your loved one’s accident, medical treatment, and injuries.
Ensure you meet all deadlines for filing necessary paperwork. Guidelines call for you to report the accident to the insurance company within seven days of the incident. You should then complete the Application for Accident Benefits within 30 days of receipt of the application materials. Ask your lawyer for guidance if your circumstances necessitate a deviation from these timelines.
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Tip 4: Include all Relevant Information with OCF-4 Documents
You must include a copy of the death certificate when submitting an OCF-4. You also must include copies of all funeral and burial expenses, such as receipts and bills. You also should be prepared to offer detailed contact information about the supplier or service provider. You will be expected to provide a detailed explanation for any missing receipts or bills, so ensure you maintain a copy of all documents for your own records.
Tip 5: Hire a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Make sure you are honest and detailed in your OCF-4 application and ensure there are no blank or incomplete portions. Seek professional advice if you are unsure about any portion of the application. False or inaccurate information could result in the denial of the claim, fines, or even imprisonment.
A lawyer can work with you and your family to ensure you pursue all owed compensation. He or she also can handle all relevant paperwork and filing deadlines so you may focus on your family and recovery. Call 1-800-JUSTICE® to schedule a free case evaluation in Ontario.