Death Related to Accidental Disability
- Is my beneficiary eligible to receive an accidental death benefit if my death, after retirement, is directly related to my accidental disability?
This death benefit is commonly referred to as a "Section 9" benefit, because that is the section of the statute which provides for this benefit. Section 9 provides for an allowance to a surviving spouse or other eligible beneficiary in the event of the death of an accidental disability retiree from the same cause for which he or she retired.
- Is there any circumstance in which my beneficiary would not be entitled to a Section 9 accidental death benefit if my death, after retirement, is directly related to my accidental disability?
If you are an accidental disability retiree who selected Option C upon retirement, and if your Section 9 beneficiary and your Option C beneficiary are the same person, that beneficiary will receive either the Option C benefit or the Section 9 benefit, whichever is greater.
- What if I retired and chose Option C prior to July 1, 2004?
In that event, your eligible beneficiary would be able to collect both benefits. This will apply to a small number of retirees: those who retired for accidental disability between November 7, 1996 and June 30, 2004, and who selected Option C.
- How is the amount of the death benefit determined?
The accidental death consists of the continued payment of the pension portion of the allowance you were receiving at the time of your death, taking into account such factors as allowances for eligible children, cost-of-living raises, and any retroactive collective bargaining raises which you may have received after retirement.
If you selected Option B when you retired, any remaining accumulated deductions in your account will be paid to your designated beneficiary(ies). However, if you retired under Option A or Option C, your beneficiary will not be entitled to the amount of any accumulated total deductions remaining in your annuity account.
- Is the accidental death benefit affected by amounts received from Workers' Compensation?
Amounts received by your survivor under Workers' Compensation law are offset and, therefore, reduce the pension portion of an accidental death benefit. They do not affect the payment of any remaining accumulated deductions.
- Will pension payments be made to other members of my family if I leave no eligible spouse or eligible children?
If you leave no eligible spouse, pension payments will be made to your eligible children and, if there are no eligible children, pension payments will be made to your surviving, totally dependent father or mother. If your parents are deceased, or not totally, financially dependent upon you, pension payments will be made to any totally, financially dependent unmarried or widowed sibling with whom you live at the time of your death. Such pension payments will continue as long as your beneficiary or beneficiaries survive, do not marry or remarry, and remain unable to support themselves.
- Is there an additional pension benefit to which surviving children are entitled?
In systems which have not elected to accept the provisions of Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2006 as amended by section 3 of Chapter 64 of the Acts of 2006, a yearly additional pension in the amount of $312.00 will be paid for each surviving unmarried child who is under the age of 18 or who is over said age, but physically or mentally incapacitated from earning on the date of the member's death, or if over age 18 is under age 22 and a full-time student at an accredited institution.
After July 5, 2006, for members of the State Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement System and any other system electing to accept the provisions of Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2006 as amended by section 3 of Chapter 64 of the Acts of 2006, the yearly amount of the additional pension payable for each eligible surviving child will be the same as the amount payable to surviving children of accidental disability retirees. As of July 1, 2015 the additional annual pension for eligible children was $846.12.
- How long will the additional pension be payable on account of eligible surviving children?
Payments will continue as long as a child remains a full-time student at an accredited educational institution and is under 22 years of age. No payment is made for a child who is already over the age of 18 at the date of the member's death unless the child is physically or mentally incapacitated from earning at that time, or under age 22 and a student at an accredited educational institution. In the event that a child is incapacitated, payments would continue for the duration of the child's incapacity.
- After my death occurs, who would be eligible to receive the balance of my accumulated deductions?
Your beneficiaries will not be entitled to a return of your accumulated deductions unless you elected Option B on retirement. If you did, the balance of your accumulated deductions, and related interest, remaining on your death will be paid to your Option B beneficiaries.
The beneficiaries who receive your accumulated deductions are not necessarily the same beneficiaries who are eligible to receive the pension portion of your accidental death benefit.
Death Unrelated to Accidental Disability
- What benefits are available to my family if my death, after retirement, is not found to be a direct result of the injury or hazard that caused my accidental disability retirement?
If you retired before November 7, 1996, your spouse is entitled to receive an allowance of $6,000, $9,000, or $12,000 per year, depending upon whether a local action has been accepted. However, if you retired on or after November 7, 1996, you are permitted to select Option C upon retirement to provide an allowance for your spouse. As a result, the $6,000, $9,000, or $12,000 allowance is not available.
- Are surviving spouses of other deceased retirees also eligible to receive this benefit?
The surviving spouses of ordinary disability retirees who retired before December 30, 1971 and who die after January 1, 1973 are entitled to receive the allowance of $6,000, $9,000, or $12,000 per year. As noted above, the amount of allowance depends upon whether a local option has been accepted. If a member retires for ordinary disability on or after December 30, 1971, the member is permitted to select Option C to provide an allowance for his or her spouse. As a result, the $6,000, $9,000, or $12,000 allowance is not available.
- Who is eligible to receive the balance of my accumulated deductions after my death?
Your beneficiaries will not be entitled to a return of your accumulated deductions unless you elected Option B on retirement. If you did, the balance of your accumulated deductions, and related interest, remaining on your death will be paid to your Option B beneficiary or beneficiaries.
Pending Determination of Accidental Benefits
- If I die while I am still a member-in-service of causes that may be job-related, are there benefits which my family may be eligible to receive while they await a decision about an accidental death benefit?
Your surviving spouse (or other eligible beneficiary whom you may designate at any time prior to your death) may elect to receive an Option D benefit in an amount equal to the yearly amount of the Option C allowance to which you would have been entitled had you retired on the date of your death. This benefit is payable pending determination of your beneficiary's eligibility for receipt of accidental death benefits. Your beneficiary must elect to receive such benefits within one year of the date of notification of eligibility to elect.
- Who is eligible to be my Option D beneficiary?
The eligible beneficiaries are limited to your spouse, your former spouse who has not remarried at the time the Option D benefit becomes payable, your child, your parent, or your sibling.
Even if you select someone other than your spouse as your Option D beneficiary, if you die leaving a spouse to whom you were married for at least a year and with whom you were living at the time of your death (or living apart for justifiable cause), that spouse can elect to receive the Option D benefit, to the exclusion of the Option D beneficiary you named, so long as you have at least two years of creditable service.
- Are there any additional benefits that my surviving eligible children may be eligible to receive during this interim period?
An additional allowance of $120.00 a month (or $1,440.00 annually) for the benefit of your first eligible child, and $90.00 per month (or $1,080.00 annually) for each additional eligible child, will be payable.
- If my spouse elects to receive Option D payments during this interim period, is the amount of his or her benefit guaranteed to meet a certain level?
The benefit payable to your spouse will not be less than $250.00 or $500.00 per month, depending upon whether a local option has been accepted, if, at the time of your death, you were married for at least a year, were living with your spouse, and you had completed at least two years of service.
- Would an accidental death benefit be affected by the payment of such an interim allowance?
In the event your accidental death benefit is approved, the accidental death benefit will be paid retroactively to the date of your death, and will be reduced by the total amount of such interim payments and any additional allowance paid for the benefit of your children, in most circumstances.