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BENEFITS


DEATH AND CONTINUING BENEFITS

WHEN A LACERA MEMBER DIES

Certain benefits may be payable to a surviving spouse, domestic partner, or named beneficiary when a LACERA member dies. This section outlines LACERA's procedure for determining applicable benefits and ensuring eligible beneficiaries receive all the benefits to which they are entitled.

HELPING SURVIVORS THROUGH THE PROCESS

A time of loss is a difficult and emotional period. We understand and are here to help survivors and beneficiaries with LACERA-related matters.

INITIATING THE DEATH BENEFIT PROCESS

Step 1: Notify LACERA of the member's death

  • Call 800-786-6464 to report the member's death as soon as possible. You will be required to submit the original death certificate.
    • LACERA will image the document and return it to you.
    • If the original is not available, LACERA will accept a certified copy of the original, stamped by the county clerk or (depending on the jurisdiction) equivalent official. LACERA cannot accept a photocopy of the death certificate.
    • If you have the decedent's LACERA Survivor & Death Benefits Information Card, provide the information listed on the card when you notify LACERA of the death.

Step 2: LACERA researches the case

  • Upon notification of the member's death, LACERA will research the member's case to determine any applicable benefits and beneficiaries.

Step 3: Submit claim forms and other required documents

  • Within 10 working days after receiving notification of the death, LACERA will send you claim forms and requests for other documents. Required documents vary according to the specifics of the case.
  • Commonly required documents include:
    • Original certified marriage certificate or
    • Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership
    • Original certified birth certificate(s)
  • Your Social Security Number (or Tax Identification Number) is required before any benefits can be paid.
  • To pay benefits to a trust, LACERA must have the Employer Identification Number (EIN) issued to the trust by the Internal Revenue Service.

Step 4: Receiving your benefit payment*

  • Death benefit payments to eligible survivors generally begin one payroll cycle after LACERA has been notified of the member's death.
  • Death benefit payments to named beneficiaries generally begin 30 days from the date LACERA has received all required documents.
*Benefit processing time may vary according to how soon LACERA receives all required documents.

DEFINITION OF AN ELIGIBLE SURVIVOR

SURVIVOR OF RETIRED MEMBER:
  • The spouse of the deceased member.
    • The spouse must have married the decedent one year prior to his or her retirement.
  • Or, the registered domestic partner of the deceased member.
    • Their domestic partnership must have been registered with the California Secretary of State, with a Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership, one year prior to the member's retirement.
  • In the absence of a surviving spouse or domestic partner, the decedent's unmarried minor child(ren) under age 18 becomes an eligible survivor.
    • Eligibility may be extended through age 21 if the eligible child(ren) remains unmarried and a full-time student in an accredited educational institution.
SURVIVOR OF ACTIVE MEMBER:
  • A spouse or domestic partner who married or entered into a duly registered domestic partnership with the member prior to the member's death.
    • No minimum length of marriage or domestic partnership requirement applies.
  • In the absence of a surviving spouse or domestic partner, the decedent's unmarried minor child(ren) under age 18 is deemed a survivor.
    • Eligibility may be extended through age 21 if the eligible child(ren) remains unmarried and a full-time student in an accredited educational institution.

5/9/14