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Survivor Benefits

In addition to the emotional stress caused by the loss of a loved one, it can also put significant stress on a family's finances, particularly when this occurs during the working years. To help ease this burden, PSRS offers valuable financial protection for your family if you die before retirement or while receiving PSRS disability retirement benefits.

New members can designate a beneficiary online within the first 18 months of membership by logging into Web Member Services. For security reasons, any changes made after that time must be made by submitting a PSRS Pre-Retirement Beneficiary Designation Form.

Three types of survivor benefits are provided for beneficiaries of members who die before retirement or while receiving PSRS disability retirement benefits: A lump-sum survivor payment, retirement-based monthly benefits and dependent-based monthly benefits. Specific qualifications must be met in order to receive lifetime monthly retirement-based benefits.

Types of Survivor Benefits

  • Retirement-Based

    Retirement-based survivor benefits are lifetime monthly benefits for a sole (one) beneficiary with a financial dependence on you.

    • You must have five or more years of service with PSRS at the time of your death.
    • You can name only one individual with an insurable interest in your life as your beneficiary.
    • If your sole beneficiary is your spouse, child or parent, he or she automatically qualifies.
    • Any other individual named as your sole beneficiary may be eligible if financially dependent on you.
    • Your beneficiary may be eligible for immediate benefits if you are eligible for retirement at the time of your death, or future benefits based on your retirement eligibility with no additional service.
    • Benefits are based on the amount you would receive with no additional service, and you lived to retirement eligibility and chose the Joint-and-Survivor 100%  benefit plan.

    The only PSRS survivor benefit payable to a trust or your estate is a lump-sum payment of your contributions and interest. If you name a trust or your estate as your PSRS beneficiary, your family will not be able to choose monthly survivor benefits.

  • Dependent-Based

    Your spouse, dependent children or dependent parents may be eligible for monthly dependent-based benefits, if you:

    • Have five or more years of service for PSRS-covered employment at the time of your death, or
    • Have at least two years of service for PSRS-covered employment, and die while actively employed under PSRS, or die within one year of the onset, or as a result of an injury or illness that began while in PSRS-covered employment, or
    • Die while eligible for PSRS disability retirement

    Your beneficiary(ies) must also meet eligibility requirements. To learn about those requirements and how to properly designate your beneficiaries so they can receive monthly dependent-based benefits, see your Survivor Benefits portion of your member handbook.

    The only PSRS survivor benefit payable to a trust or your estate is a lump-sum payment of your contributions and interest. If you name a trust or your estate as your PSRS beneficiary, your family will not be able to choose monthly survivor benefits.

  • Lump-Sum Payment

    If you die before you retire with PSRS, or while receiving PSRS disability benefits, your designated beneficiary has the right to a lump-sum refund of your contributions and interest.

    • The lump-sum refund consists of your contributions, any payments made to reinstate and purchase service, and the interest earned as of the date of your death.
    • Employer contributions are not included in a lump-sum refund.
    • No other survivor benefit is paid if a lump-sum survivor payment is made.

    Your named beneficiary may be an individual, multiple individuals, a trust, your estate or any other legal entity(ies). If you name multiple individuals, payment will be split equally unless you specify otherwise.