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.
The accidental death benefit is a lifetime pension if paid to a surviving spouse or dependent parent. The annual benefit is equal to one-half (50 percent) of your FAS (less any Workers’ Compensation benefit paid or payable because of your death). Any accumulated contributions will be refunded to your designated beneficiary or to your estate.
The benefit can only be paid to the following family beneficiaries, in this order:
- First, to your surviving spouse, for life;
- Second, where there is no surviving spouse or in the event of his or her death, to minor children until the last child reaches age 18, or if students, until age 23;
- Finally, where there is no surviving spouse or minor children, to a dependent parent for life.
If all the beneficiaries listed above become ineligible for benefit payments, and the payments made to that time do not equal or exceed the amount of the ordinary death benefit that would have been payable at the time of death, we will pay the difference to your designated beneficiary or to your estate. If you have no beneficiaries as listed above, we will not pay the accidental death benefit but will pay the applicable ordinary death benefit to your last designated beneficiary or your estate.
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).