Recent Divorcee lounging comfortably on a couch, smilingImpacts of Divorce

Divorce impacts many aspects of life. For PSRS/PEERS members who named a spouse as a beneficiary, divorcing that spouse means your beneficiary designations will require attention. For some retirees, it can lead to a potential change in the amount of monthly retirement benefit payments.

  • Divorce as an Active Member

    If you named your spouse as your pre-retirement beneficiary and you divorce before you retire, your beneficiary designation is void in its entirety as of the date of the divorce decree. If you don’t provide us with a new beneficiary designation, your beneficiaries will be determined by Missouri law.

    How to Designate New Beneficiaries:

    • New members who are still in the first 18 months of membership can change beneficiary designations in Web Member Services.
    • All active members can change beneficiary designations using a Pre-Retirement Beneficiary Designation form you can download on the PSRS or PEERS forms page of this website or available by contacting us.
  • Divorce as a Retiree

    If you named your spouse as your beneficiary at retirement and have since divorced, your ability to remove your ex-spouse as your beneficiary depends on the benefit plan you chose at retirement.

    Single Life Benefit Plan

    Missouri law automatically removes your ex-spouse as your primary beneficiary to receive a lump-sum payment of your remaining contributions and interest. Your first contingent beneficiary becomes your new primary beneficiary. If you prefer, you can name a new beneficiary instead, using the Post-Retirement Beneficiary Designation for Lump-Sum Payment of Contributions and Interest found on the forms page of this website, or available by contacting us.

    Joint-and-Survivor Benefit Plans

    If you selected a Joint-and-Survivor benefit plan at retirement, named your spouse as your beneficiary to receive monthly benefits after your death, and have since divorced, your ex-spouse can be removed as that beneficiary one of two ways:

    1. If you remarry, you can name your new spouse. You must name your new spouse within one year of the subsequent marriage. Keep in mind, your new spouse will be covered under the same benefit plan you selected at retirement, and benefit amounts may be adjusted based on the age of your new spouse.
    2. You can remove your ex-spouse as your beneficiary by applying for a benefit “pop-up.” Your benefit “pops-up” to the larger, Single Life benefit amount you would have received at retirement, adjusted for any increases granted since your retirement date.

    When your benefit “pops-up,” you are no longer providing monthly benefits to a beneficiary after your death, but you can name a beneficiary to receive any remaining contributions and interest remaining in your membership at the time of your death.

    Documentation is required for a divorce pop-up. Contact us if you have questions or would like to discuss your situation with a member services representative.

    Term-Certain Benefit Plans 

    Missouri law automatically removes your ex-spouse as your beneficiary to receive monthly benefits under the Term-Certain benefit plans.

    Your first contingent beneficiary becomes your new primary beneficiary. If you prefer, you can name a new beneficiary instead, using the Post-Retirement Beneficiary Designation for the Term-Certain Plans found on the forms page of this website, or available by contacting us.

    You can also remove your ex-spouse as your beneficiary by applying for a benefit “pop-up.” Your benefit “pops-up” to the larger, Single Life benefit amount you would have received at retirement, adjusted for any increases granted since your retirement date.

    When your benefit “pops-up,” you are no longer providing monthly benefits to a beneficiary after your death, but you can name a beneficiary to receive any remaining contributions and interest in your membership at the time of your death.

    Documentation is required for a divorce pop-up. Contact us if you have questions or would like to discuss your situation with a member services representative.

    PSRS Members Only: $5,000 Death Benefit

    Missouri law automatically removes your ex-spouse as your beneficiary to receive the lump-sum payment of the $5,000 Death Benefit. Your first contingent beneficiary becomes your new primary beneficiary. If you prefer, you can name a new beneficiary instead using the $5,000 Death Benefit Beneficiary Designation.