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  1. I am the spouse of a deceased active member, but I am not the named beneficiary. Am I eligible to receive death benefits?

    The rights of a surviving spouse or domestic partner of an active member who dies before retirement may take precedence over the rights of any other named beneficiary. For additional information, call 800-786-6464 to speak with a LACERA Retirement Benefits Specialist.

  2. I am a survivor/beneficiary of a deceased member. How long will I have to wait to receive my continuing benefits?

    Death benefit payments to survivors begin one payroll cycle after LACERA has been notified of the member's death. Death benefit payments to named beneficiaries begin 30 days from the date all required documents have been received by LACERA. Required documents are: claim forms, death certificate, original certified marriage license or Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership, and original certified birth certificates.

  3. Do I have to provide the Social Security Number of the person I wish to name as beneficiary?

    Yes. A Social Security Number (or Tax Identification Number) is required before any benefits can be paid. If a member doesn't have a number at the time of beneficiary designation, LACERA must receive this information when the death claim is processed.

  4. I am the survivor of an active Plan E member who just died. Who do I contact?

    Since Plan E does not provide pre-retirement death benefits, the spouse or domestic partner of a deceased active Plan E member should contact the County's Long-Term Disability and Survivor Benefits Plan representative at 213-388-9982.

  5. I am the widow(er) of an L.A. County employee, and I receive a monthly check from LACERA. Will I lose any of that benefit if I decide to remarry?

    No. Your survivor allowance is paid for the rest of your life, regardless of any change in your marital status.

  6. Does LACERA pay a death/burial benefit to the beneficiary of a retired member?

    Yes. All LACERA retirement plans include a one-time lump-sum death/burial benefit of $5,000 payable to the beneficiary upon the death of a retired member.

  7. Are taxes withheld from the $5,000 death/burial benefit that is provided for retired members?

    Yes. LACERA is required to withhold 20 percent in federal income tax, and if you reside in California, LACERA must withhold an additional 2 percent in state tax.

    However, your benefit payment may be eligible for rollover to a traditional IRA or an eligible employer plan, which would allow you to postpone taxation of that benefit until it is paid to you. You have 60 days after you receive the benefit payment to roll over all, or part of it, to a traditional IRA or to an eligible employer plan that accepts your rollover.

    NOTE: Your payment cannot be rolled over to: Los Angeles County's 401(k) Savings Plan and Horizons 457 Plan, a Roth IRA, a SIMPLE IRA, or a Coverdell Education Savings Account (formerly known as an education IRA).

    More specific information on the tax treatment of payments from qualified employer plans is available in IRS Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income, and IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements. These publications are available from your local IRS office, online at, or by calling 800-TAX-FORMS.

  8. Where can I view my beneficiary information?
  9. 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.

  10. After I retire, can I provide my beneficiary 100% of my retirement allowance?

    Yes. If you select the Unmodified+Plus Option when you retire, you can provide your eligible spouse, domestic partner, or beneficiary a customized percentage of your reduced retirement allowance. If you are in Plan A, B, C, D, or G, you can provide your eligible beneficiary a customized percentage between 66 percent and 100 percent of your reduced allowance. If you are in Plan E, you can provide your eligible beneficiary a customized percentage between 56 percent and 100 percent of your reduced allowance.

    For additional information, call 800-786-6464 and speak with a LACERA Retirement Benefits Specialist.