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 payable on your behalf.
This is a pension equal to one-half (50 percent) of your FAS and is eligible for full escalation. (Learn more about escalation.) The benefit is paid to your beneficiaries, in this order:
- To your surviving spouse, provided he or she has not renounced survivorship rights in a separation agreement, until death or remarriage;*
- To your surviving children, until they reach age 25;
- To your dependent parent or parents, as determined under regulations established by the Comptroller; or
- 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.
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 is not more than the amount of the ordinary death benefit, the difference will be paid to the last eligible beneficiary or beneficiaries. If none exists, the benefit will be paid to the executors of your will, or to the persons who would be the executors if you die without making a will.
Your family or employer should notify us of your death as soon as possible so we can forward 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 had to be filed within two years of your date of death).
*All beneficiaries would be eligible for annual COLAs after receiving the accidental death benefit for five years.