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Death Benefits

Beneficiary Designation at Retirement

At the time of retirement, the member may name only one person, his or her estate, or a trust as beneficiary of the monthly retirement allowance.   A member cannot change the beneficiary designation after the first day of the month in which he or she receives the first retirement payment.  If the beneficiary dies or divorces the retired member, state law provides that the member’s estate becomes the beneficiary. An estate or trust cannot be eligible for a lifetime payment upon death of a retired member.  

Death after Retirement

You should inform your family or the person you have named to be responsible for your estate of the need to immediately inform the retirement office of your death.  Your estate is liable for any monthly payments paid after your death.  The member/recipient or the member’s/recipient’s estate is entitled to the payment that is sent during the month in which death occurs.  

Benefits provided

Upon notification of a retired member’s death, KRS will notify the individual named as beneficiary regarding his or her status as beneficiary.  The beneficiary must complete and file the proper forms along with a death certificate listing the cause of the member’s death.

The retired member’s estate is entitled to the member’s retirement payment for the month of the member’s death.  If the retired member selected a payment option without survivorship benefits and dies prior to recovering all the member contributions and interest which had accumulated in his or her retirement account, the beneficiary would receive the remaining account balance.

If the retired member selected a Survivorship Option at the time of retirement, the beneficiary will receive monthly benefits beginning in the month following the member’s death.  Monthly benefits will not continue if the member’s estate has become the beneficiary because the beneficiary has died or divorced the member. 

What is required to collect a member's benefits after death?

The beneficiary or estate is required to submit a death certificate for the member listing the cause of death.  If death occurred after the effective retirement date, the former employer is not required to submit any information.  An audit of the deceased member’s account will be performed once the death is reported to KRS.  The beneficiary of the account will be notified by mail. Please note that a completed beneficiary designation must be on file with KRS in Frankfort prior to the member’s death to be valid.  A copy received after the member’s death is not acceptable.

A beneficiary's monthly payment must be deposited directly to a financial institution; as a result, the beneficiary must complete Form 6130, Authorization for Deposit of Retirement Benefit, to have the payment deposited.  If the beneficiary does not have an account with a financial institution or the financial institution does not participate in the Automated Clearing House (ACH), the beneficiary must complete a Form 6135, Request for Payment by Check.  The retirement benefit will not be processed until the appropriate forms are filed with KRS.

Death of a beneficiary

Please advise the retirement office upon the death of the beneficiary named for your monthly benefits or for your $5,000 death benefit.  You cannot name a new beneficiary for your monthly benefits, but you may name a new beneficiary for the $5,000 death benefit at any time after retirement by completing a new Form 6030, Death Benefit Designation.   Also, the amount of your benefit may change if you selected the Pop-Up option at the time of retirement.

$5,000 Death Benefit

A retired member’s beneficiary may be eligible for a death benefit.  If a retired member is receiving a monthly benefit based on at least 48 months of service credit, KRS will pay a $5,000 death benefit payment to the beneficiary designated by the member specifically for this benefit.  The beneficiary or administrator of the member’s estate must submit proper documentation of the date of death and the qualifications of the administrator.  Members with multiple accounts are entitled to only one death benefit.  The $5,000 death benefit is subject to federal income tax, but may be eligible for a direct rollover to avoid tax withholding.

The retiree may designate a new beneficiary of the $5,000 death benefit at any time by completing a new Form 6030, Death Benefit Designation.  To be effective, the death benefit beneficiary form must be completed by the retiree and filed at the retirement office prior to the retiree’s death.


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