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Line of Duty Death

​Spouses and qualified dependent children of members who die in the line of duty may be eligible for special benefits through Kentucky Retirement Systems.  As a result of the passage of House Bill 185 during the 2018 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly, the administration of Death In Line of Duty benefits has changed.

Non-Hazardous Member Duty-Related Death

If you are a Non-Hazardous member and have at least one month of service credit, you are eligible for duty-related death benefits. If you pass away as a result of a duty-related injury*, your spouse shall be eligible for the higher of:

  • The normal death benefit options; or
  • A $10,000 lump sum payment, plus a lifetime monthly payment of 75% of the member’s monthly average pay until the spouse’ death or remarriage.  If the surviving spouse remarries, the monthly payment shall be recalculated to 25% of the deceased member’s monthly average pay.

If you die as a result of a duty-related injury* and are survived by a spouse, your spouse shall be deemed as the beneficiary of your retirement account, superseding any previous beneficiary designations unless you have filed a valid beneficiary form after marriage to your spouse.  The surviving spouse shall also be eligible for benefits when there is no designation of beneficiary on file at KRS.

*Duty-related injury is defined in KRS 61.621(2)(a) as either a single traumatic event that occurred while the employee was performing the duties of his or her position or a single act of violence committed against the employee that is found to be related to the member’s job duties, whether or not it occurs at his or her job site.

Hazardous Member Death in the Line of Duty

If you are a Hazardous duty member and you die in the line of duty and your spouse is the only beneficiary named, the spouse may elect either:

  • The normal death benefit options; or
  • A lump sum payment of $10,000 and a lifetime monthly benefit equal to 75% of the monthly average pay until the spouse’ death or remarriage.  If the surviving spouse remarries, the monthly payment shall be recalculated to 25% of the deceased member’s monthly average pay.

If your beneficiary is only one person other than your spouse who is a dependent receiving at least 50% of his or her support from you, and a surviving spouse does not supersede this person, the beneficiary may elect either:

  • The normal death benefit options; or
  • A lump sum payment of $10,000.

Dependent Child Payments for Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Members

Each eligible dependent child* will receive a monthly benefit equal to 50% of your monthly average pay.  The amount increases to 65% if you have two (2) dependent children; and 75% if you have three (3) or more children.  Payments will be divided equally among all the dependent children. 

*A dependent child is defined in KRS 16.505(17) as a child in the womb and a natural or legally adopted child of a member who has neither attained age eighteen (18) nor married or who is an unmarried full-time student who has not attained age twenty-two (22).  Solely in the case of a member who dies as a direct result of an act in line of duty or who dies as a result of a duty-related injury, "dependent child" also means a naturally or legally adopted disabled child of the member, regardless of the child's age, if the child has been determined to be eligible for federal Social Security disability benefits or is being claimed as a qualifying child for tax purposes due to the child's total and permanent disability.

Insurance Coverage

The insurance benefit for your surviving spouse and each dependent child shall be paid in full by the Systems as long as they individually remain eligible for a monthly retirement benefit.



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