To report a death, please contact us.
Retired Member Death Benefits
Different benefits are payable after the Retired Member’s death, including monthly continuance payments based on the form of benefit the member elected to receive at the time of retirement (Refer to Retirement Benefit Allowance Payment in Section 5 of the Member Handbook for more information).
SCERS also pays a lump-sum death benefit or “burial allowance” to your beneficiary if you die after you retire. Presently, the burial allowance is $4,000 and is typically paid in full by SCERS. However, if you are a Reciprocal Member and your final retirement system is a system other than SCERS, then the burial allowance provided by SCERS will be offset by the burial allowance, if any, payable from the last Reciprocal System.
The burial allowance is only payable by SCERS when a Retired Member dies. No burial allowance is paid when your beneficiary who is receiving a monthly Continuance payment from SCERS dies, or when your former spouse/registered domestic partner who is receiving an allowance under a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) dies. Refer to Section 7 of this handbook for more information on DROs.
Active Member Death Benefits
It is important to keep your beneficiary information updated. Your beneficiary(ies) should understand they may be eligible to receive benefits from SCERS in the event of your death prior to your retirement.
If you die as an Active Member, benefits may be payable to your Eligible Survivor(s), such as your surviving spouse/registered domestic partner or eligible minor children. If you die while a Deferred Member, your designated beneficiary will receive your Member Contributions on account with SCERS. Refer to Section 6 of the Member Handbook for more information regarding the death benefits that may be available to your beneficiary(ies).
In most cases, a Participating Employer will notify SCERS of an Active Member’s death. Your beneficiary should be prepared to notify SCERS, as well, and will need to take the following steps:
- Contact SCERS and report the death.
- Provide a copy of the deceased’s death certificate.
- Provide a copy of the deceased’s birth certificate, if the beneficiary is eligible for a monthly continuance benefit.
- Provide a copy of the marriage license or domestic partnership registration and copies of the beneficiary’s birth certificate and social security card if they are not already on file, if the beneficiary is eligible for a monthly continuance payment.
Deferred Member Death Benefits
If at the time of your death you are a Deferred Member of SCERS, and you are not an Active Member in a Reciprocal System, your designated beneficiary will receive a lump sum distribution equal to your Member Contributions as of the date of your death, regardless of your marital status or the existence of minor children. No additional death benefits are offered to the surviving spouse/registered domestic partner or eligible minor children of a Deferred Member.
Consistent with the Member Contribution withdrawal process for Active Members, your beneficiary will have the option of receiving the lump sum distribution from SCERS as a taxable, direct payment or a tax-deferred eligible rollover distribution.
If you are an Active Member in a Reciprocal System at the time of your death, SCERS will coordinate benefits with the Reciprocal System.