This is a workers' compensation case concerning the payment of dependency benefits to the appellant Georgia Subsequent Injury Trust Fund pursuant to OCGA 34-9-358
. The last sentence of OCGA 34-9-358
(a) provides that: "Each insurer or self-insurer who in a compensable fatal case finds no dependents qualifying to receive dependency benefits shall pay into this fund one-half of the benefits which would have been payable to a dependent or dependents if one or more existed, or $10,000.00, whichever is less." (Emphasis supplied.) In this case, no qualified dependents have filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits within the one-year period provided by law. No dependents of the deceased employee were found in the United States. The deceased was an Ethiopian national who had sent money to his parents in that country, although they were not shown to be his dependents.
The board's analysis is directed to the probable location of any actual unknown dependents. However, as argued by appellees, whether or not actual dependents existed is irrelevant.
To the extent that OCGA 34-9-358
(a) requires computations to be made based on a "hypothetical" dependent, we fail to understand why it should be presumed that such dependents of alien workers are non-resident aliens. Certainly, such a presumption is not directed by the statute and no evidence was presented demonstrating the accuracy of such a generalization in the real world.
In the absence of dependents who are "not citizens or residents of the United States or the Dominion of Canada at the time of the accident," the limitation on compensation contained in OCGA 34-9-26
5 (b) (5) is not applicable. As no evidence establishing the relevance of this statutory provision was presented, the superior court erred in affirming the decision of the full board which applied the statute so as o reduce the award to appellant.