Survivor Benefits

By statute as a Tier 1, 2 or 3 DB Member, a survivor benefit is paid to your eligible spouse and/or eligible children.  If there is no eligible spouse or children, the balance of the member’s contributions, if any, will be paid to the named beneficiary(ies) on file.

Tier 3 Members within the First 90 Days of Employment:  If the employee was killed in the line of duty, the surviving spouse will receive a surviving spouse pension based on the calculation for a DB Member (100% of the average monthly compensation at the time of death). 

Tier 3 DC Members:  If the employee was killed in the line of duty, the surviving spouse will receive a surviving spouse pension based on the calculation for a DB Member (100% of the average monthly compensation at the time of death) reduced by an amount equal to the monthly annuitized value of the annuity account. 

Tier 3 DC Members Dies before 10 Years of Service:  Employer contributions are immediately vested.

Note:  Divorce automatically terminates the ex-spouse as the member’s beneficiary. To maintain an ex-spouse as a beneficiary, you must complete a Beneficiary Designation Form and/or a DROP Beneficiary Designation Form, as applicable, after the date of the divorce.

ELIGIBILITY

Spouse:  Proof of recorded/filed marriage certificate (click here for examples).  For retired members, statute requires two consecutive years of marriage at the time of the members death.

Child(ren):  Biological or legally adopted children that are unmarried, under the age of 18, and/or attending school full-time between the ages of 18 to 23, which also includes disabled children (disability occurred before the age of 23), and who is a dependent of the member.

ACTIVE MEMBERS for Tier 1, 2 and 3 DB Members

Spouse’s Pension
The surviving spouse of an active member will receive a Spouse’s Pension each month for lifetime.  The Spouse’s Pension is 80% of the pension based on the calculation for an accidental disability retirement.  If the member was killed in the line of duty, the spouse will receive a lifetime monthly benefit of 100% of the member’s average monthly benefit compensation less the “Child’s Pension,” if applicable.

AND

Child’s Pension
The surviving eligible child(ren) will receive a Child’s Pension up to 20% (in equal shares, but no more than 10% per eligible child) each month based on the calculation for an accidental disability retirement until each unmarried child turns 18, or under 23 years of age only during any period that the unmarried child is a full-time student.  An eligible Child’s Pension shall become payable directly to the eligible child when the eligible child reaches the age of 18, if the child remains eligible to receive the pension and is not subject to a guardianship or conservatorship due to disability or incapacity. 

OR

Guardian Benefit
If there is no surviving spouse, or the pension of the surviving spouse is terminated, and there is at least one (1) eligible child, a Guardian Benefit of 80% (based on the calculation for a Spouse’s Pension) and the applicable Child’s Pension (based on the calculation for a Child’s Pension) will be paid to the guardian of the unmarried eligible child(ren) until the child turns 18, or under 23 years of age only during any period that the unmarried child is a full-time student.

If a Guardian Benefit is paid to a disabled child (the child’s disability occurred prior to the age of 23) and remains a dependent of the guardian, the benefit is payable to the guardian or conservator for the lifetime of the child.

If the member was killed in the line of duty, the Guardian Benefit is 100% of the member’s average monthly benefit compensation (less the Child’s Pension if applicable).

OR

Balance of Contributions
If there is no surviving spouse, or eligible child(ren), the member's named beneficiary on file will receive the member’s accumulated contributions.  If the surviving beneficiary does not apply for the benefit within twelve months from the date of the member’s death, the Local Board has the authority to pay the member’s nearest of kin, or estate. 


INACTIVE MEMBERS for Tier 1, 2 and 3 DB Members

Balance of Contributions
If the death of an inactive (not making contributions) member occurs before becoming eligible for a Retirement or Annuity benefit, the member's named beneficiary on file will receive the member’s accumulated contributions.  If the surviving beneficiary does not apply for the benefit within twelve months from the date of the member’s death, the Local Board has the authority to pay the member’s nearest of kin, or estate.


RETIRED MEMBERS for Tier 1, 2 and 3 DB Members

Spouse’s Pension
If married for at least two (2) consecutive years at the time of the member’s death, the surviving spouse will receive a Spouse’s Pension each month for lifetime based on 80% of the member's pension benefit. 

AND

Child’s Pension
The surviving eligible child(ren) will receive a Child’s Pension up to 20% (in equal shares, but no more than 10% per eligible child) each month based on the member’s pension until each unmarried child turns 18, or under 23 years of age only during any period that the unmarried child is a full-time student.  An eligible Child’s Pension shall become payable directly to the eligible child when the eligible child reaches the age of 18, if the person remains eligible to receive the pension and is not subject to a guardianship or conservatorship due to disability or incapacity. 

OR

Guardian Benefit
If there is no surviving spouse, or the pension of the surviving spouse is terminated, and there is at least one eligible child, a Guardian Benefit of 80% (based on the member’s pension) and the applicable Child’s Pension (based on the member’s pension) will be paid to the guardian of the unmarried eligible child(ren) until the child turns 18, or under 23 years of age only during any period that the unmarried child is a full-time student.

If a Guardian Benefit is paid to a disabled child (the child’s disability occurred prior to the age of 23) and remains a dependent of the guardian, the benefit is payable for the lifetime of the child.

OR


Balance of Contributions
If there is no surviving spouse or eligible child(ren), the member's named beneficiary on file will receive the balance of the member's accumulated contributions less the pension payments made to the member.  If the surviving beneficiary does not apply for the benefit within twelve months from the date of the member’s death, the Local Board has the authority to pay the member’s nearest of kin, or estate.

FOR MEMBERS PARTICIPATING IN DROP

If your death occurs while in DROP, survivor benefits will be paid according to the RETIRED MEMBERS section above and your accumulated DROP will be paid as a one-time lump-sum payment as indicated on your DROP Beneficiary Designation form.

SURVIVOR BENEFIT PROCESS

If you are reporting the death of one of our members or other benefit recipients, the employers Local Board will provide documentation to the eligible beneficiary(ies) and will also hold a meeting to approve the benefits. If you are not certain who the Local Board contact person is, please Contact Us to report the death and the Local Board contact information will be provided to you.