If you die as the natural and proximate result of an on-the-job accident not due to your own willful negligence, an accidental death benefit may be payable on your behalf, regardless of your years of service credit.
"Accident” has a specific meaning with NYSLRS disability and death benefits. We determine whether an incident is an “accident” on a case-by-case basis, using court decisions for guidance.
The accidental death benefit is a lifetime pension if paid to a surviving spouse or dependent parent. The benefit is equal to 50 percent of your FAE (less any workers’ compensation benefit paid or payable because of your death).
By law, the following family beneficiaries would receive this benefit (even if they are not your designated beneficiary), in this order:
- To your surviving spouse, for life;
- Where there is no surviving spouse or should he or she die, to minor children until age 18, (age 23, if they are students); and
- Where there is no surviving spouse or minor children, to a dependent parent, for life.
Any accumulated contributions will also be refunded to your beneficiary, or to your estate.
If all the beneficiaries listed above become ineligible for benefit payments, and if the monthly accidental death benefit payments made up to the date they became ineligible do not equal or exceed the amount of the ordinary death benefit that would have been paid at your death, we will pay the difference to your designated beneficiary or to your estate. If you have no beneficiaries as listed above, we will not pay the accidental death benefit; instead, we will pay the applicable ordinary death benefit to your designated beneficiary or your estate.
Your family or employer should notify us of your death as soon as possible, so we can send the appropriate forms to your beneficiary. If you die on or after January 1, 2020, the application for the accidental death benefit must be filed within five years of your date of death (for members who died before January 1, 2020, the application was to be filed within two years of the date of death).