Ordinary Death Benefit
Your beneficiary may be entitled to an ordinary death benefit if you meet the eligibility requirements and your death is not attributable to an on-the-job accident. The first $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.
An ordinary death benefit may be payable to your designated beneficiary if you have completed at least one year of service since last joining the Retirement System and your death occurs:
- While you are on the payroll;
- While you are on an authorized medical leave of absence (with or without pay);
- While you are receiving Workers’ Compensation or other employer-funded benefits, for up to two years (which may be extended for an additional two years) following the last date you were paid on the payroll, provided your employment has not been terminated by resignation, employer action or any other means while receiving those benefits; or
- Within 12 months of the last date you were receiving salary, on an authorized medical leave of absence or receiving Workers’ Compensation or other employer-funded benefits, provided you were not otherwise gainfully employed during that period.
This benefit is equal to 1/12th (8.33 percent) of your last year’s earnings multiplied by your years of service credit, up to 36 years.
Alternative Death Benefit
If you die while in service after age 55, your death benefit may be substantially increased. The benefit payable under the alternative death benefit would be equal to the initial value of your pension under the provisions of the Non-Contributory Retirement Plan (Section 75-c) as of the date of death.
Out-of-Service Death Benefit
If you are a vested member with at least ten years of credited service, have not retired and you die more than one year after leaving public employment, 50 percent of the death benefit may still be payable. This vested benefit is also payable if you die within one year of leaving covered employment but were gainfully employed during that time.
Your family or employer should notify us of your death as soon as possible so we can send the appropriate forms to your beneficiary.