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Keep Your Beneficiary Information Current

It’s important to have a Beneficiary Designation form on file with LACERA and to make sure LACERA has the most current contact information on your designated beneficiary(ies). In the event the unthinkable happens, the information will be helpful to LACERA — and your beneficiary — should it be necessary for LACERA to pay death benefits on your behalf.

New County employees are asked to complete a Beneficiary Designation form. The form designates who you would like to receive any death benefits that may be payable should you die while in County service.*

If you have any minor children (including adoptions), it’s important to submit their original certified birth certificates to LACERA to keep on file. (LACERA will image the document and return it to you.) This will ensure LACERA is aware of any minor children who could become eligible for benefits.**

*Pre-retirement (active member) death benefits are included in all LACERA contributory retirement plans (Plans A, B, C, D, and G). They are not included in non-contributory Plan E. The surviving spouse or domestic partner of an active Plan E member may be eligible to receive benefits through the County‘s Long-Term Disability and Survivor Benefit Plan.

**Surviving minor child(ren) are eligible for survivor allowances only when there is no surviving spouse or domestic partner. Survivor allowances to an eligible minor child continue until the child is no longer eligible.

Where to Find Your Beneficiary Information

You can view and make changes to your beneficiary information online on My LACERA. The information also appears on the Annual Benefit Statement (ABS) LACERA mails you each year in the month following your birthday.

Making Changes to Your Beneficiary Information

If you need to make a change to your beneficiary information on file with LACERA, you must do so either in writing or over the phone, depending on the change. If you wish to add or remove a beneficiary designation or change a beneficiary’s benefit percentage, it must be done in writing via My LACERA or by submitting an updated Beneficiary Designation form. This form is available on the Brochures & Forms page. If you wish to update or correct a beneficiary’s address, phone number, birth date, or Social Security number, you can do so either in writing or over the phone by calling a Retirement Benefits Specialist at 800-786-6464.

Issues to Consider Prior to Retirement

It is vital to have your beneficiary's(ies') birth date and Social Security number on file with LACERA when you retire. Your retirement benefit will be delayed until this information is recorded and validated. Depending on which retirement option you choose, LACERA may require you to submit the original certified birth certificate of your beneficiary(ies) to validate the birth date. This is because some retirement options factor in your beneficiary’s(ies’) age in your retirement benefit calculation.

Only Retirement Option 1 (not available in Plan E) offers full flexibility to change your beneficiary at any time after retirement. This is because Option 1 provides any named beneficiary with a lump-sum benefit (equal to the remaining balance of the member’s accumulated contributions), rather than a monthly survivor allowance. The beneficiary is only paid in the event the total retirement allowance received by the member during his or her retirement did not equal or exceed the member’s accumulated retirement contributions.

Most retirement options offered by LACERA retirement plans do not permit you to change your beneficiary after retirement. This is because most of the Options (Unmodified+Plus and Options 2, 3, and 4) provide a reduced allowance during the member’s lifetime and a percentage of that allowance to the eligible beneficiary upon the member’s death. At retirement, LACERA’s actuaries use both the age of the member and the designated beneficiary in calculating the amount of the reduction to the member’s allowance.


Under the Unmodified Option, the law entitles the retired member’s spouse or domestic partner (or minor child, if there is no eligible spouse or domestic partner) to a continuing monthly allowance. However, if the retired member’s eligible survivor predeceases him or her, the member may name a new beneficiary. In such case, the new beneficiary will receive any remaining portion of the member’s accumulated contributions. The new beneficiary will not be eligible for a continuing allowance.

Beneficiary Eligibility for Retiree Healthcare

Upon the death of a LACERA retiree, any survivor or beneficiary who is receiving a continuing monthly allowance from LACERA and who qualifies as an eligible surviving dependent (as defined in LACERA‘s Retiree Healthcare Administrative Guidelines) is generally eligible to enroll in LACERA-administered healthcare coverage.*

When an eligible survivor notifies LACERA of a member’s death, LACERA mails a healthcare benefits information packet to the survivor. The packet includes information on benefits and premium rates, along with an enrollment form. To avoid late enrollment rules, the survivor must notify LACERA within 30 days of the member’s death.

It’s important to keep in mind that survivors or beneficiaries who are not receiving a continuing monthly allowance are not eligible to enroll in a LACERA-administered health plan. However, survivors and dependents who had continuous coverage under the decedent’s LACERA-administered health plan, but are not eligible for a continuing monthly allowance, may apply for continued healthcare benefits (for a maximum of 36 months) under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

*Member’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, minor child(ren), or disabled dependent children who meet prescribed eligibility requirements.


You may download a Beneficiary Form or change your Beneficiary on My LACERA.


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