Benefits are determined by the plan, option the member elected at the time of retirement, and your relationship to the member. LACERA pays a death/burial benefit, and depending on the retirement plan, some members can elect to have their continuing benefits paid as a continuing allowance or a single lump-sum payment.
A one-time lump-sum payment of $5000 is payable upon the death of the LACERA retiree, except if they were later employed by another system under the County Employees Retirement Law (CERL).
In cases where more than one beneficiary has been designated, the $5,000 is divided among all named beneficiaries in the percentages indicated on the decedent’s Beneficiary Designation Form.
A monthly continuing allowance is a benefit LACERA pays to eligible survivors or beneficiaries of deceased LACERA retirees. The allowance is a percentage of the monthly retirement allowance the decedent received during their lifetime and is paid each month for the remainder of the recipient’s life (regardless of any future change in the recipient’s marital status). A continuing allowance to an eligible minor child continues until the child is no longer eligible.
See Survivor Healthcare for continuing healthcare coverage information.
Eligible survivors for continuing benefits are:
- The spouse or domestic partner of the deceased member, if they were married/registered one year prior to the member’s retirement. Domestic partnerships must have been registered with the California Secretary of State, with a Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership.
- The decedent’s unmarried minor child(ren) under the age of 18, in the absence of a surviving spouse or domestic partner. Eligibility may be extended until age 22 if the eligible child(ren) remains unmarried and a full-time student in an accredited educational institution.
How Continuing Allowances Are Determined
At the time of retirement, members choose from a number of options regarding the distribution of their retirement benefits. These options affect the amount of the retirement allowance they receive each month and the survivor benefit amount, and are designed to offer flexibility and address various lifestyles.
Following are the continuing allowances for eligible survivors per option selected and plan:
- Unmodified Option: 65 percent of a Plan A, B, C, D, or G member’s allowance; 55 percent of a Plan E member’s allowance
- Unmodified Plus Option: between 66 and 100 percent of the member’s reduced allowance
Following are the continuing allowances for a beneficiary with an insurable interest in the member’s life, per option selected:
- Option 2: 100 percent of member’s reduced allowance, all plans
- Option 3: 50 percent of member’s reduced allowance, all plans
- Option 4: Fixed percentage or set dollar amount to one or more beneficiaries, all plans
The beneficiary of a member in plans A, B, C, D, or G who selected Option 1 receives the remaining balance of that member’s accumulated contributions in a lump-sum payment.