Unmarried Cohabitatnts’ Benefits
In the state of Maryland, when you marry whether it’s same-sex or opposite-sex, the couple will have all benefits as determined by its legal status. But what if one unmarried cohabitant dies? Does the surviving cohabitant receive any benefits? The answer depends on the different categories and the controlling law in each. When a person dies from an injury that arose out of his or her employment, that employee’s survivors are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if the act covers the particular situation.
An unmarried cohabitant who can show that he or she was wholly or partly dependent on the deceased employee at the time of the injury resulting in death will receive benefits. Additionally, a dependent will receive benefits in one of two types. First, dependents can claim an award of total or partial disability compensation left unpaid at the death of the employee. A cohabitant cannot get this reward unless he or she was designated as the recipient in the deceased cohabitant’s will. The second type is in the case when the death was the result of and occurred within 7 years of work-related injury.
Generally speaking, when it comes to the federal status, Maryland law does not grant death benefits, even if one cohabitant believed in good faith and felt that he or she was validly married. Additionally, an unmarried cohabitant is not entitled to death benefits payable under the Social Security Act.
When it comes to automobile insurance, it’s important to read the policy carefully because if the insurance policy carries a “household exclusion” clause, an unmarried cohabitant as well as members of the family and household are excluded. If the policy is extended to include persons living in the same household, unmarried cohabitants are covered. If the policy only covers “spouses,” then unmarried cohabitants are not protected. With life insurance, unmarried cohabitants are free to designate his or he partner as a beneficiary.