Members who joined before January 1, 2001 were given a choice between two death benefits. If you chose death benefit one and you die while in active service, your beneficiary will be paid the greater of the two death benefits; if you die after retirement, and meet the eligibility criteria, your beneficiary will receive the post-retirement death benefit.
Members who join on or after January 1, 2001 will automatically be covered by death benefit two, the greater benefit in almost all cases. Death benefit two is equal to your salary multiplied by your years of service, not to exceed three years of salary. For example, if you die after one year of service, your beneficiary would receive a benefit equal to one year of your salary; if you die after two years, your beneficiary would receive a benefit equal to two years of your salary; and if you die after three or more years of service, your beneficiary would receive a benefit equal to three years of your salary. The salary is limited by Section 130 of the Civil Service Law.
If you are in service at age 61, your death benefit will be reduced by 3 percent and will be further reduced by 3 percent each year you continue to be in service. It will not be reduced below 70 percent of the original benefit payable.
Death benefit two provides a post-retirement death benefit if you:
- Retire directly from service; or
- Are a vested member and your date of retirement is within one year of leaving covered employment.
The post-retirement death benefit is calculated at retirement. During your first year of retirement, the benefit is 50 percent of the ordinary death benefit payable at retirement; during your second year of retirement, the benefit is 25 percent. During your third year and thereafter, the benefit will be 10 percent of the ordinary death benefit that would have been payable at age 60, if any, or at retirement, whichever was earlier.
Retirement at age 62 with a salary of $60,000
|$60,000 × 3||= $180,000|
|(reduction for working after age 60)||− 10,800|
|(ordinary death benefit at retirement)||= $169,200|
1st year of retirement(50 percent of ordinary death benefit): $84,600
2nd year of retirement(25 percent of ordinary death benefit): $42,300
After 2nd year of retirement(10 percent of benefit at age 60): $18,000