If you are the survivor or beneficiary of a LACERA member, following is a step-by-step description of the benefits process, so you know what to do and expect. Remember, we are here to help you, so contact us any time you have questions.
Notification of Member's Death
Notify LACERA at 800-786-6464 as soon as possible to report the member's death.
The sooner LACERA is notified of the death, the sooner a benefit account in the survivor’s name can be established. By law, a retiree’s monthly allowance ends in the month of death, so setting up a survivor’s account quickly is especially important for the families of retired members.
You will be required to submit the original death certificate, which LACERA will copy and return to you.
If the original is not available, LACERA will accept a certified copy of the original, stamped by the county clerk or equivalent official (depending on the jurisdiction). 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.
LACERA Researches the Case
LACERA researches the case and sends you claim forms.
Upon notification of the member's death, LACERA will research the member's case to determine any applicable benefits and beneficiaries.
Within 10 working days after receiving notification of the death, LACERA will send you claim forms and requests for other documents.
Survivor Submits Required Documents
Survivor submits claim forms and other required 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 also 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 IRS.
LACERA Proceses Benefits
LACERA processes benefits and begins payment.
Benefit processing time may vary according to when LACERA receives all required documents.
- 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.