Death Benefits before Retirement

In the event of your death, PERS should be notified right away and will require a photocopy of the death certificate listing the manner of death.

If you die before retirement, PERS will pay a death benefit to your spouse or to any other person who is constitutionally required to be treated in the same manner as a spouse for the purpose of retirement benefits. 

The death benefit will be for the life of your spouse or the other person unless the monthly benefit is less than $200, then the benefit will be paid in a single lump-sum that represents the actuarial equivalent of the death benefit.

Your surviving spouse’s death benefit effective date is the first of the month after your date of death — unless your spouse delays receiving benefits for a year or more after your date of death. Payments delayed by more than a year are actuarially adjusted based on the delayed benefit effective date; your spouse will not receive retroactive payments back to your date of death.

Delayed payments must start no later than December 31 of the year in which you would have reached age 70½ (if born before July 1, 1949), age 72 (if born after June 30, 1949), or age 73 (if born after December 31, 1950).

If your surviving spouse dies prior to benefits starting, a lump-sum payment equal to the sum of payments your spouse would have received had they not delayed distribution will be paid to your spouse’s designated beneficiary. If your spouse’s designated beneficiary is not on file, the benefit will be paid to your spouse’s estate.


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