Survivor Benefits

Death, deceased members, and survivor benefits.

ACTIVE MEMBERS

If a member is eligible to retire at the time of his/her death, a monthly pension is payable to the member's spouse, calculated as if the member had retired on the day of his/her death and elected the Joint and Survivor Annuity.

If the member dies as an active employee after completion of 5 years of Creditable Service but prior to his/her early retirement date, the member's spouse shall receive a pension on the date that the member would have reached his/her early service retirement date.

TERMINATED MEMBERS

Within six months following a member's date of termination, the member may elect pre-retirement death benefit coverage in one of the benefit forms outlined below if he/she has at least five years of Creditable Service at time of termination:

  1. Surviving Spouse Coverage - A reduced pension payable to the terminated member's spouse for his/her lifetime.

  2. Ten Year Certain Coverage - A reduced pension payable to the terminated member's designated beneficiary for 120 months.

Election of pre-retirement death benefit coverage will have the following effect should the terminated member die before retirement:

  • If death occurs after the terminated member would otherwise be entitled to retire, his/her surviving spouse or 10-year certain beneficiary shall receive a pension as if the terminated member had retired on the day of his/her death and elected the surviving spouse or 10-year certain optional form of pension.

  • If death occurs prior to the terminated member's early retirement date, the surviving spouse shall receive a pension on the date the terminated member would have reached his/her early retirement date. The pension shall be determined as if the terminated member had reached his/her early retirement date and elected the surviving spouse optional form of pension.

  • If death occurs prior to the terminated member's early retirement date, the 10-year certain beneficiary shall receive a reduced pension commencing no later than December 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year of the terminated member's death.

The cost of pre-retirement death benefit coverage is borne entirely by the member through a reduction in his/her pension benefit as detailed below.

The pension is reduced by 0.25% for each year that the coverage is in effect for ages prior to 55 plus 0.50% for each year the coverage is in effect for ages after 55. The member's accrued benefit is reduced by the amount of reduction accumulated while the coverage is in effect. This reduction is applicable even if the member does not die before retirement. In the event the terminated member designates a person other than his/her spouse as 10-year certain beneficiary additional reductions apply for actuarial equivalency.

For example, a member who terminates employment at age 40, elects pre-retirement death benefit coverage, and dies at age 60 will have his/her pension reduced by 6.25% to cover the cost of such coverage. This reduction represents 15 years of coverage at 0.25% plus 5 years of coverage at 0.50% per year [(15 x 0.25%) + (5 x 0.50%) = 6.25%].

In addition to the reduction factor noted above, the pension benefit may be further reduced by an early retirement factor and a surviving spouse or 10-year certain reduction factor.

If the member declines to elect pre-retirement death benefit coverage and dies before retirement, there are no pension benefits payable.

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