If your death results from a non-work related cause, your eligible survivors and beneficiaries may qualify for benefits.

Social Security

All Social Security benefit claims must be made directly to the Social Security Administration. You will need to provide your Social Security number and proof of age.

Death Before Retirement

If you die while actively employed and have at least 18 months of service, your qualified survivors will be eligible for annuity payments. (see survivor benefits below)

If you die with no qualified survivors while actively employed, your named beneficiary(ies) will receive a non-occupational death benefit consisting of your contributions, plus interest, and one month’s salary for each year of service, up to a maximum of six months’ salary. In order to receive any benefit, your beneficiary must apply for it. All benefit claims should be made to the Claims Division.

All benefit claims and appeals are reviewed by the SERS Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. If your claim is denied, or you question the payment of any benefit, you or your representative may file a written appeal or request a hearing before the Executive Committee.

Survivor Benefits

In order to receive any survivor benefit, your survivor must apply for it. All benefit claims should be made to the Claims Division. After your survivor begins receiving benefits (s)he should notify SERS if there is a change in name, address, bank account that receives the annuity payment by direct deposit, or any other pertinent contact information.

All benefit claims and appeals are reviewed by the SERS Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. If a claim is denied, or your beneficiary questions the payment of any benefit, they may file a written appeal or request a hearing before the Executive Committee.

Eligibility

If your death results from a non-work related cause, your eligible survivors and beneficiaries may qualify for benefits.

Your Spouse

If you are survived by your spouse age 50 or over, and you were married at least one year prior to your death, (s)he will receive a lump sum payment of $1,000, plus a monthly annuity that is generally 66 2/3% of your earned annuity. (S)he will receive this benefit until death.

Your Spouse and Children

If your spouse supports your children under age 18 (22 if full-time student), or a disabled child over 18, (s)he can receive benefits before age 50.

If your surviving spouse remains under age 50 at the time your last child reaches age 18 (22 if full-time student), marries, dies, or is no longer disabled, then such payments will cease until your spouse attains age 50.

Your Children

If you are not survived by a spouse, but have children under age 18 (22 if full-time student), or over 18 and disabled, they can receive $1,000 plus a monthly annuity that is generally 66 2/3% of your earned annuity.

This benefit is payable until the last child reaches age 18 (22 if full-time student), marries, dies, or is no longer disabled.

Your Dependent Parents

If your spouse or children do not survive you, your dependent parents may be eligible for benefits. In order to qualify, your parents must be able to document that they were at least 50% financially dependent on you at the time of your death.

Annual Increase

The survivor benefit is increased by 3% or one-half the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index for the preceding calendar year, whichever is less on each January 1, following the first anniversary of the benefit. Such increases are non-compounded increases, meaning that each increase is determined by the starting benefit amount.

Death After Retirement

If you die after retiring, survivor benefits are generally 66 2/3% of your annuity.

If you have no survivors, your beneficiary(ies) will receive the difference between the remaining contributions with interest and the benefit amount payable to you prior to your death, or $500, whichever is greater.

In order to receive any benefit, your beneficiary must apply for it. All benefit claims should be made to the Claims Division.

All benefit claims and appeals are reviewed by the SERS Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. If your beneficiary's claim is denied, or they question the payment of any benefit, they may file a written appeal or request a hearing before the Executive Committee.

In the unlikely event that you, your survivors, and your beneficiaries, die before the full value of your account (your contributions and interest) has been depleted, the balance will be paid to your estate.

Death After Termination

If your death occurs after termination of state employment, but before retirement benefits begin, you must have eight years of service for your survivors to qualify for survivor benefits. The survivor benefits payable are generally 66 2/3% of your earned annuity.

If you die after termination with no survivors, or with less than eight years of service, your named beneficiary(ies) will receive your contributions and interest. In order to receive any benefit, your beneficiary must apply for it. All benefit claims should be made to the Claims Division.

All benefit claims and appeals are reviewed by the SERS Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. If their claim is denied, or they question the payment of any benefit, they may file a written appeal or request a hearing before the Executive Committee.

Increases to annuity payments to Survivors of Retired Members

The survivor benefit is increased 3% or one-half of the Consumer Price Index on each January 1 for the preceding calendar year, whichever is less. Such increases are non-compounded.