Regardless of your years of service credit, if you die as the direct 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 benefit is a pension equal to one-half (50 percent) of your Final Average Salary (FAS). It is paid to the following beneficiaries, in this order:
- First, to your surviving spouse, provided he or she has not renounced survivorship rights in a separation agreement, until remarriage;
- Second, to your surviving children until age 25;
- Third, to your dependent parent or parents, as determined under regulations established by the Comptroller;
- Finally, to any other person who qualified as a dependent on your final federal income tax return or the return filed in the year immediately preceding the year of your death, until this person reaches age 21.
The beneficiaries listed above would generally be eligible for 100 percent escalation, or, annual Cost-of-Living Adjustments (after receiving the accidental death benefit for five years), whichever is higher. See the Service Retirement Benefit section for more information about escalation.
If the total of all the accidental death benefit payments made to your beneficiaries is not more than the amount of the ordinary death benefit, the difference will be paid to the last eligible beneficiary or beneficiaries from the list above. If none exist, the benefit will be paid to the person(s) who would be eligible to share in your estate if you died without 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).