In addition to providing retirement benefits, the CERF Pension Plan also provides death benefits to your beneficiary.
If you die while actively employed with the county and while a participant in CERF, your beneficiary will receive a $10,000 death benefit regardless of the length of time you worked for the county. Exceptions include employees on ineligible leave, or part-time and seasonal employees who did not receive pay during the month in which they died.
If you die vested, with at least eight years of continuous creditable service, the following additional benefits apply, depending on your marital status at the time of your death:
Additionally, SB 625 (effective 8/28/12) provides that your beneficiary of the $10,000 death benefit will receive a refund of any contributions paid by you if you die before becoming vested. This applies to those who die after December 31, 2002.
For the $10,000 death benefit, you may choose anyone as your beneficiary. It is important to complete a beneficiary designation form and update your designations, as necessary. Copies of this form are available from your county clerk’s office, the CERF Administrative Office, or the CERF website (www.mocerf.org).
You may designate an entity, such as a charity, to receive this benefit. You may also designate more than one beneficiary by indicating the percentage you want each beneficiary to receive. If you fail to specify the percentages, the benefit will be paid in equal shares to your named beneficiaries. If you do not designate a beneficiary, this benefit will be paid to your surviving spouse or, if there is no spouse, then it will be paid according to statute.
Unlike a traditional life insurance policy, the $10,000 death benefit is a cash benefit that is paid by CERF. It is important to let your beneficiary know that this is a taxable benefit.