Death Benefits For ERS Members

Among the most important benefits a NYSLRS membership provides are death benefits. When you’re covered by a death benefit, your beneficiary may receive a payment on your behalf at your death.

Death benefits can vary by tier and retirement plan, so for the purpose of today’s post, let’s focus our attention on the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Tier 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 members in regular plans. (If you’re in a special 20- or 25-year plan or are a Tier 1 member, please review your plan publication to learn more about your death benefits.)

The Ordinary Death Benefit

You’re eligible for the ordinary death benefit when you have one year of service credit. Your beneficiary would receive this benefit if you died while working for a public employer.

  • After one year of service, the ordinary death benefit is equal to your last year’s salary.
  • After two years of service, the benefit equals two times your last year’s salary.
  • After three or more years of service, the benefit equals three times your last year’s salary.

Post Retirement Death Benefits ERS Regular-Plans

The Post-Retirement Death Benefit

Your beneficiary may also be eligible for a post-retirement death benefit if you retire directly from your employer’s payroll or within one year of leaving covered employment.

  • During your first year of retirement, the post-retirement death benefit is 50 percent of your ordinary death benefit payable at retirement.
  • During your second year of retirement, the benefit is 25 percent of your ordinary death benefit.
  • During your third year and thereafter, the benefit is 10 percent of the ordinary death benefit that would have been payable at age 60 (if any) or at retirement, whichever was earlier.

There may be other death benefits available in your retirement plan. Please read the Death Benefit section in your plan publication for more information. If you have any questions about death benefits, please email us using our secure email form.

10 thoughts on “Death Benefits For ERS Members

    1. NYSLRS

      Yes, for the ordinary and post-retirement death benefits, you can name more than one beneficiary to receive your death benefit. If you name more than one beneficiary, each will share the benefit equally, unless you indicate specific percentages totaling 100 percent are to be paid (e.g., John Doe, 50 percent; Jane Doe, 25 percent; and Mary Doe, 25 percent).

      You can also name contingent beneficiaries, who would receive your death benefit only if all the primary beneficiaries die before you. Multiple contingent beneficiaries would also share the benefit equally, unless you indicate specific percentages are to be paid.

  1. Tiffany wAde

    Hi I was trying to see if my father had benefits that are due to myself he passed away oct.2,2015

    1. NYSLRS

      When one of our retiree has passed away, after we receive a death certificate, we mail letters out to that individual’s beneficiaries to let them know if there are any benefits payable. Information about death benefits or beneficiaries cannot be given out over the phone or by email.

      If you believe that you may be a beneficiary, and you have your father’s Social Security number or registration number, you can email us using our secure form to provide us with your current address and phone number.

      You can also provide your contact information to us by contacting our Call Center at 1-866-805-0990, or writing to us at NYSLRS, 110 State Street, Albany, NY, 12244.

  2. Brian E VanNostrand Sr

    I was told that if in the UNION that they do not pay a death benefit to the family or beneficiary because of the county I live (Fulton County) the union is FCDSBA?? Is this true and if so does the CSEA non UNION member get the death benefit?? The reason im asking because of a wife of a member that passed n 2014, 8 days after he retired, and she was told she could not get anything.. he was A captain for the Fulton County Sheriff’s dept and a non union member.. Just need to know what she needs to do for this , thank you… Brian

    1. NYSLRS

      In general, whether a beneficiary receives a death benefit from NYSLRS is determined by what tier and retirement plan our member was in. NYSLRS death benefits are determined by New York State law, and whether the member was in a union or not wouldn’t affect payment of these benefits.

      If the captain’s widow believes that a death benefit is due from either FCDSBA or CSEA, she would have to contact that union. If she believes she may be entitled to a death benefit from NYSLRS, she should email us using our secure email form, and a customer service representative will review the account and provide guidance. Filling out the secure form allows members to safely provide the information needed for us to assist them. Please allow five to seven business days for a response.

    1. NYSLRS

      Your NYSLRS pension amount, and any amount to be paid to any beneficiaries, is based on the payment option you chose when you retired.

      For instance, under the Joint Allowance – Full option, a retiree would receive a reduced monthly amount for his or her lifetime, and if the retiree dies before his or her beneficiary, the same amount would continue to be paid to the beneficiary for life. If a retiree chooses a Joint Allowance – Half option and the retiree dies, the beneficiary receives half of the retiree’s amount.

      The option you chose when you retired, as well as a description of how that option works, should be listed on your Retiree Annual Statement. We mail the Retiree Annual Statements out every February.

      For a list of the options that were available to you when you retired, and how each of those options would affect your pension, please visit our Payment Options Descriptions page.

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      If you mean sign up to receive email notifications for our weekly blog posts, go to New York Retirement News, enter your email address under “subscribe to our blog” and click “Subscribe.”

      If you mean sign up for death benefits, most NYSLRS members are automatically covered by a death benefit, but the specific death benefits vary by tier and retirement plan.

      Your employer should be able to tell you which retirement plan you’re in. Then, you can check your plan booklet to find out which benefits you have. Plan booklets are available on our Publications page. You also can find your tier, plan and death benefit information on your Member Annual Statement (MAS), which we distribute every summer.

      If you have questions about your particular situation, we recommend emailing our customer service representatives using our secure email form. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.


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