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Keeping Your Beneficiary Information Current

As part of the retirement process active members complete a LACERA Beneficiary Designation form in conjunction with the election of a retirement option. The form designates who will receive your survivor benefits after you’re gone.

If it’s been a while since you retired, it’s a good idea to make sure LACERA has the most current contact information on your designated beneficiary(ies). This will be helpful to LACERA — and your beneficiary — when the time comes for LACERA to pay survivor benefits on your behalf.

If you have any minor children (including adoptions), it’s also 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.*

Where to Find Your Beneficiary Information

You can view and change 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.

Changing Beneficiaries

Only Option 1 (not available in Plan E) offers full flexibility to change your beneficiary at any time. 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. Since this option does not provide a continuing allowance, the age of the parties is not a factor.

Most retirement oOptions 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 unmodified 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 the age of both 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.

*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.


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