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 (if any) are also payable to your beneficiary.
An ordinary death benefit may be payable to your designated beneficiary if your death occurs:
- While you are on the payroll in public service;
- While you are on 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.
Tier 1 Death Benefits
Security Negotiating Unit and Security Supervisor’s Unit Death Benefit With at least 90 days of service, the benefit payable is three times your last year’s earnings, raised to the next highest multiple of $1,000.
Non-Security Unit Regular Ordinary Death Benefit If you are not a member of either the Security Negotiating Unit or the Security Supervisor’s Unit, and you have completed one or more years of service since joining the Retirement System, the regular ordinary death benefit is 1/12th of your last year’s earnings multiplied by your years of service credit, up to 36.
Non-Security Unit Alternative Death Benefit Your death benefit may be substantially increased if you die while in service and were eligible to retire at the time of your death. Under these circumstances, the benefit approximates the initial value of your pension under the provisions of Section 89. “Initial value” is an actuarial term for the value of the total retirement benefit at the time of retirement.
Tier 2 Death Benefit
On completion of 90 days of service, your death benefit would be equal to three times your earnings, raised to the next highest multiple of $1,000. The earnings are limited by Section 130 of the Civil Service Law.
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.