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Retirement Manual - Survivor Benefits and Procedures

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Webster Parish Clerk of Court

Hon Holli Vining

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Survivor Benefits – (See R. S. 11:1523)

Upon the death of any actively contributing member who has credit for less than five years service, or any former member who has credit for less than twelve years service, and has neither retired nor received a refund of his accumulated employee contributions, the amount of his accumulated employee contributions will be paid to his designated beneficiary or, if none, to his estate.  

Upon the death of any actively contributing member who has credit for five or more years of service and is survived by a legal spouse, the surviving spouse will be paid either:

  1. An automatic option number 2 benefit with monthly payments commencing on the date the member would have first become eligible for a regular retirement assuming that he had continued working.  The calculation of the monthly benefit will be based on the member's service credit and monthly average final compensation as they were on the date of the member’s death, and using the option number 2 factors based on the ages of the member and surviving spouse as they would have been on the date the member would have first become eligible for normal retirement; or
  2. A benefit with monthly payments commencing on the member's date of death in an amount calculated as explained in (1) above but reduced by one quarter of one percent for each month or fraction thereof by which payments commence in advance of the member's earliest normal retirement age.  

In order to select (2) above, a surviving spouse must notify the board of such selection within ninety days of the death of the member.  The selection will be final and irrevocable and will be in lieu of eligibility for (1) above.
  
If an actively contributing member who has credit for five or more years service, dies and doesn’t have a surviving spouse, the legal guardian of any surviving minor child(ren) will be paid a monthly benefit on behalf of the surviving child(ren).  The total benefit will be equal to one-half of the member's accrued benefit based on the member's service credit and monthly average final compensation as they were on the date of his death. The total benefit will be divided equally among all minor children.
  
Upon the death of any former member who has credit for twelve or more years service, and who has neither retired nor received a refund of his accumulated employee contributions, the surviving spouse will be paid an automatic option number 2 benefit with monthly payments commencing on the date the member would have first become eligible for a deferred regular retirement benefit based on the member's service credit and monthly average final compensation as they were on the date of the member's termination of covered employment.  The calculation of the monthly benefit will be based on the ages of the member and surviving spouse as they would be on the date the member would have first become eligible for a deferred regular retirement.

Any survivor of a member or former member who is eligible for a monthly survivor benefit may apply for and receive a refund of the member's accumulated employee contributions in lieu of monthly survivor benefits by notifying the board in writing and executing a waiver of all survivor benefits.  

When a minor child applies for survivor benefits based upon being disabled, the issues of disability and continuation of disability shall be determined as if the application were for disability benefits.  

Payment of Death and Survivor Benefits; Public Retirement – (See R. S. 29:415)

The employee's period of service in the uniformed services must be counted as creditable service in the public retirement system in which he was a member, for determining eligibility for death and survivor benefits and in the computation of benefits, provided that the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. The beneficiary of the death or survivor benefits provides payment of the unpaid portion of the contributions of the deceased member.  The beneficiary may agree in writing to have the payment of the unpaid portion of the contributions of the deceased member deducted from the benefits over a period not to exceed four years.  The beneficiary may pay, in the alternative, the actuarial cost of such additional credit in a lump sum prior to the distribution of benefits.
  2. If there is more than one beneficiary, a written agreement to pay the unpaid contributions of the deceased member must be unanimous.  In the event that a recipient is a minor child, the legal guardian of the minor child must express consent for the minor child.
  3. The board of trustees of every public retirement system defined in R.S. 29:403, is required to adopt a written policy covering all beneficiaries' and survivors' rights to pay the required contributions in order to have the employee's military service computed in the computation of any death or survivor benefits payable under the system.

If all of the conditions set forth above are satisfied, the employer must pay the employer contributions in a manner consistent with this Subpart.  

If the beneficiary of the death or survivor benefits of the deceased member elects not to pay the employee contributions due the system on account for such service in the uniformed services credit, the computation of death and survivor benefits will be based on the actual service of the reservist in the system prior to his call to service in the uniformed services.  The death or survivor benefits provided for herein will be due and payable upon the death of the reservist.

If the application of any provision set forth in this Section results in an unpaid actuarial cost to the retirement system, it will be borne by the employers through reflection in the employer rate established by the Public Retirement Systems Actuarial Committee.

Inapplicability to Deferred Retirement Option Plans; Public Retirement –(See R. S. 29:415.1)

The provisions of this Subpart are inapplicable with respect to employees who are participants in a deferred retirement option plan.

Survivor Benefits – (See R. S. 11:234)

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any person who, after June 22, 1993, is receiving survivor benefits or becomes eligible to receive survivor benefits shall not have their benefits discontinued upon remarriage if such remarriage occurs after their attaining age fifty-five.

Surviving Minor's Benefit Placed in Trust – (See R. S. 11:235(B))

If a trust has been created under Louisiana law by a member of the system for the benefit of the member's minor child(ren), the terms of the instrument creating the trust so provide, and the retirement system has been provided with a certified copy of the trust document, then a survivor benefit due a minor child(ren) shall be paid to the trustee for addition to the trust property.

Funds Payable to a Succession or Estate – (See R. S. 11:165 and R. S. 9:1515)

When funds are payable by the retirement system to the succession or estate of a deceased member or retiree, the funds may be paid to the member's surviving spouse, provided that neither the member or spouse had previously instituted divorce proceedings.  If the deceased member leaves no surviving spouse, or if either the member or the spouse had instituted a divorce proceeding, the funds may be paid to any major child of the deceased member.

In order to receive such funds, the surviving spouse or major child must execute an instrument before two witnesses that provides the following:

  1. Name, address, date, and place of death of the deceased member.
  2. The relationship of the person requesting payment to the deceased member.
  3. The name and address of the deceased member’s surviving spouse or children, if any.
  4. Such other information as the system may require.

The system may make these payments without any court proceedings, court order, or authorizing judgment of a court (i.e. the formal opening of a succession) and without determining whether any inheritance taxes may be due or whether the funds belong to the separate estate of the decedent or to the community that existed between the decedent and the surviving spouse.  Such payments should only be made in cases where the system forwards an affidavit stating the name of the deceased, the amount paid, the name of the recipient, and a copy of the release document substantiating the release to the secretary of the Department of Revenue within ten calendar days of the release of the funds.

The execution of the instrument by the recipient and the receipt by such person of such payment constitutes a full release and discharge of the system for the amount paid and for all inheritance taxes which may be determined to be due.  No person, natural or juridical, shall have any right or cause of action against the system because of such payment.

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