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Married State Employees & Survivor Benefits

Apr 16, 2019, 15:16 PM by MOSERS

If I pass away and I am vested with the state for 14 yrs, can my spouse get my state retirement; in addition, can she draw off her state retirement while drawing off my state retirement? In other words, can she draw off both retirements?

Yes – Let’s look at different scenarios.

Death Before Retirement:

As a married, vested member, if you die before you retire and while still employed, your eligible spouse will receive your MOSERS survivor benefits. When she retires, she can draw her own MOSERS pension and the two will have no impact on each other. (The rules are not the same for Social Security benefits. Consult the SSA for more information on their rules about spouse benefits.)

Death After Retirement:

When each of you retire, you will choose a benefit payment option. Options include: Life Income Annuity, Joint & Survivor options, and Guaranteed Payment options.

If you elect the Life Income Annuity option, your retirement benefit will not be reduced for the purpose of providing a survivor benefit. Your final payment will be sent to your designated beneficiary. Then, there will be no ongoing monthly survivor benefits payable to anyone after your death.

Since you are married, you may elect the Joint & 50% Survivor or the Joint & 100% Survivor option. Each provides a lifetime benefit to you. If you die first, your spouse will receive a lifetime benefit for the remainder of her life. Your benefit will be reduced to provide this benefit*. Your spouse can receive your survivor benefit even if she is receiving her own MOSERS pension.

If you elect a Guaranteed Payment option, you may name anyone as your beneficiary (does not have to be your spouse but she would have to waive her spouse benefit). Your retirement benefit will be reduced and if you die before all of the guaranteed payments have been made, the remaining payments will go to the beneficiary you designated at retirement.

For more information, please review the death of a member section of our website. You can read more about benefit payment options in the Retirement Guide on our website in the Ready to Retire section. If you would like more information specific to your situation, contact a MOSERS benefit counselor. They can answer questions over the phone, or you can set up an in-person appointment.

*There is no reduction for members who retire under the MSEP and elect the Joint and 50% survivor option.

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We strive to provide the most accurate information possible in our answers to Rumor Central questions. However, occasionally, laws, policies or provisions change and individual circumstances may vary. Please contact a MOSERS benefit counselor or see the handbooks in our website Library for more detailed information. If there is any difference between the information provided in this blog or on the MOSERS website and the law or policies that govern MOSERS, the law and policies will prevail. See our Privacy, Security & Legal Notices for more information.