Regardless of your years of service credit, 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 paid on your behalf.
This benefit is a pension equal to one-half (50 percent) of your earnings during your last year of active service (or one-half of your annual wage rate if you were credited with less than one year of service).
The benefit can only be paid to the following beneficiaries, in this order:
- First, to your surviving spouse, provided he or she has not renounced survivorship rights in a separation agreement, until remarriage; or
- Second, to your surviving children, until they reach age 25; or
- Third, to your dependent parent or parents, as determined under regulations established by the Comptroller; or
- Finally, to any other person who qualified as a dependent on your final federal income tax return for the year preceding death, until that person reaches age 21.
All of the beneficiaries listed above would be eligible for annual Cost-of-Living Adjustments after receiving the accidental death benefit for five years.
The benefit will be divided equally among the beneficiaries in any one category if you have more than one child, parent or other dependent.
If the total of all the accidental death benefit payments made to your beneficiaries is not more than the amount of the ordinary death benefit, the difference will be paid to the last eligible beneficiary or beneficiaries from the list above. If none exist, the benefit will be paid to the person(s) who would be eligible to share in your estate if you died without a will.
Your family or employer should notify us when you die so we can forward the appropriate forms to your beneficiary. If you die on or after January 1, 2020, the application for the Article 15 accidental death benefit must be filed within five years of your date of death. The Retirement System may accept an application after five years, but only if an ordinary death benefit has not been paid. For members who died before January 1, 2020, the application had to be filed within 60 days of your date of death.