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 ordinary death benefit is a one-time lump sum payment. Your beneficiaries will not receive a monthly pension benefit.
The first $50,000 of the ordinary death benefit is paid in the form of group term life insurance, which is currently exempt from federal income tax. Your accumulated contributions 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 in public service;
- 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, retirement, 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 or retired during that period.
The death benefit is equal to your earnings multiplied by your years of service, not to exceed three years of earnings. For example, if you die after one year of service, your beneficiary would receive a benefit equal to one year of your earnings; if you die after two years, your beneficiary would receive a benefit equal to two years of your earnings; and if you die after three or more years of service, your beneficiary would receive a benefit equal to three years of your earnings. The earnings are limited by Section 130 of the Civil Service Law.
The following types of payments are not considered regular compensation and will not be included in the calculation:
- Wages reported from more than two separate concurrent employers;
- Overtime payments that exceed the fiscal year earnings limit;
- Any payments that cause your salary to exceed that of the Governor;
- Payments made as a result of your working during your vacation; and
- Any payments that are not for time you worked.
$30,000 earned in last year
After 1 year of service = $30,000
After 2 years of service = $60,000
After 3 or more years of service = $90,000
For members working beyond age 60, the death benefit that would have been payable if you had died at age 60 will be reduced by 4 percent each year that you stay in public employment, up to a maximum reduction of 40 percent.
Using the Example Above:
At age 60, a member was eligible for a $90,000 death benefit. If the member dies while still employed, his or her beneficiary would receive:
|Age||Maximum Percent Payable||Death Benefit Payable|
|70 and older||60||$54,000|
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 benefit may also be payable if you die within one year of leaving covered service 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.