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About Death Benefits

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Ordinary Death Benefits

If you die while in active service and your death is not the result of an on-the-job accident, your beneficiary may be entitled to an ordinary death benefit. Up to $50,000 of this benefit is paid in the form of group term life insurance, which is currently exempt from federal income tax. Your accumulated contributions (if any) are also payable to your beneficiary. Your beneficiary is listed on your Member Annual Statement.

Your death should be reported to the Retirement System as soon as possible.

Retirement System and Tier Ordinary Death Benefit
ERS Tiers 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 Your salary multiplied by your full years of service credit not to exceed three years’ salary.
If you are in service at age 61, the benefit is reduced 4 percent per year, but cannot be reduced below 60 percent of the original benefit payable. The salary is limited by Section 130 of the Civil Service Law. Certain other salary limitations may also apply.
PFRS Tiers 2, 3, 5 and 6 in regular plans (Article 11 benefits) Your salary multiplied by your full years of service credit not to exceed three years’ salary.
If you are in service at age 61, the benefit is reduced 3 percent per year, but cannot be reduced below 70 percent of the original benefit payable.
The salary is limited by Section 130 of the Civil Service Law. Certain other salary limitations may also apply.
PFRS Tiers 2, 3, 5 and 6 in special 20- or 25-year plans Three times your salary raised to the next highest multiple of $1,000.
PFRS Tier 3 with Article 14 benefits Three times your salary raised to the next highest multiple of $1,000.

If you are a Tier 1 member, you may find it helpful to review your plan booklet on our publications page for specific ordinary death benefits information.

Accidental Death Benefit

An accidental death benefit is available if your death is a result of an on-the-job accident. Your employer or survivors should submit an Application for Accidental Death Benefit (RS6046) Adobe pdf within the filing period specified in your plan booklet. The accidental death benefit is a lifetime pension payable to your spouse. Other beneficiaries, as specified by law, may be eligible if there is no spouse.

Retirement System and Tier Accidental Death Benefit
ERS and PFRS Tiers 1 and 2 A pension equal to one-half (50 percent) of your FAS reduced by the amount of any Workers’ Compensation benefit paid or payable on account of your death.
ERS Tiers 3, 4, 5 and 6 A pension equal to one-half (50 percent) of your wages during your last year of active service.
PFRS Tier 3 with Article 11 benefits A pension equal to one-half (50 percent) of your FAS reduced by the amount of any Workers’ Compensation benefit paid or payable on account of your death.
PFRS Tier 3 with Article 14 benefits A pension equal to one-half (50 percent) of your FAS. Each April, the benefit may change depending on the amount of the increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index, or by 3 percent, whichever is less.
PFRS Tiers 5 and 6 A pension equal to one-half (50 percent) of your FAS reduced by the amount of any Workers’ Compensation benefit paid or payable on account of your death.

You may find it helpful to review your plan booklet on our publications page for specific accidental death benefit information.

Special Accidental Death Benefit

If you are a PFRS Tier 1, 2, 5 or 6 member, or a PFRS Tier 3 member with Article 11 benefits, and you die under circumstances that permit payment of an accidental death benefit, a special accidental death benefit may also be payable. Please refer to your plan booklet on our publications page for details about this benefit.

(Rev. 4/12)

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