1) Survivor Benefits Remember Your Loved Ones
2) As you plan for your future, remember your loved ones with CalSTRS survivor benefits. Your spouse, registered domestic partner, children or other loved ones may be eligible for survivor benefits after your death. The type and amount of benefits depend on: • • • • Your years of service credit. Your type of coverage—A or B. Whether you choose to elect an option. Your membership status—active or retired. The CalSTRS hybrid retirement system has two sources of survivor benefits: • Defined Benefit Program • Defined Benefit Supplement Program Coverage A or B If you became a CalSTRS member after October 15, 1992, you are covered under Coverage B. If you were a CalSTRS member on or before that date, you remain under Coverage A unless you elected Coverage B before April 1993. Not sure which coverage you have? Look on your Retirement Progress Report, check your myCalSTRS account, email us at CalSTRS.com/contactus or call us at 800-228-5453. Keep this brochure with your other important papers and share it with your beneficiaries. CalSTRS is governed by the Teachers’ Retirement Law. If there is a conflict between the law and this booklet, the law prevails.
3) Your Survivor Benefits Depending on your coverage and membership status at the time of your death, your beneficiaries may be eligible for the following three benefits: One-time death benefit Monthly benefit Defined Benefit Supplement distribution One-Time Death Benefit You may designate a person, estate, trust or charity organization to receive a one-time death benefit. This benefit is separate from any possible lifetime monthly benefit your beneficiaries could receive after your death. Eligibility depends on your membership status at the time of your death. Your recipients will receive this benefit if you die: • During active service • In service retirement • While receiving a CalSTRS disability benefit The amount of the benefit is set by the Teachers’ Retirement Board. If you die after retirement or while receiving a CalSTRS disability benefit, the benefit amount is currently $6,163. If you die before retirement, the benefit is currently $6,163 under Coverage A and $24,652 under Coverage B. Name your one-time benefit recipient online using your myCalSTRS account or by submitting the Recipient Designation form, available on CalSTRS.com/forms. Keep your one-time death benefit recipient information current. You can change your recipients at any time, with no financial penalty. CalSTRS Survivor Benefits 2012 3
4) Monthly Benefit CalSTRS may provide benefits to your survivors whether your death occurs before or after retirement. Defined Benefit Supplement Distribution If You Die Before Retirement Your membership status when you die— active or retired—determines how the balance in your Defined Benefit Supplement account will be distributed. If you die before retirement or while receiving a Coverage A disability benefit: If You Die Before Retirement • With a preretirement election of an option, your beneficiaries will receive a lifetime monthly benefit based on a percentage of the reduced benefit that would have been paid if you had retired on the date of your death. Your Defined Benefit Supplement account balance will be distributed to your one-time death benefit recipient. If you did not name a recipient, CalSTRS must make the payment to your estate. • Without a preretirement election of an option, your survivors, including your spouse or registered domestic partner and dependent children, may be eligible for a monthly survivor benefit. If You Die After Retirement If your survivors are not eligible for a monthly benefit, your accumulated Defined Benefit contributions will be paid to your one-time death benefit recipient in a lump-sum distribution. If you did not name a recipient, CalSTRS must make the payment to your estate. If You Die After Retirement If you elect an option, your service retirement, or disability retirement benefit under Coverage B, will be reduced. Your option beneficiaries will receive a lifetime monthly benefit after your death. If you choose not to elect an option, you will receive your full service retirement or disability retirement benefit. When you die, your lifetime benefit will end. If there are any remaining contributions and interest in your Defined Benefit account, they will be paid to your one-time death benefit recipient in a lump-sum distribution. If you did not name a recipient, CalSTRS must make the payment to your estate. See “Electing An Option Beneficiary” on the next page for descriptions of current options. 4 CalSTRS Survivor Benefits 2012 If you elect an option beneficiary, you may choose to receive your Defined Benefit Supplement funds as a monthly annuity, payable to your option beneficiary after you die. If you do not elect an option, any remaining balance in your account will be distributed to your one-time death benefit recipient. If you did not name a recipient, CalSTRS must make the payment to your estate.
5) Electing an Option Beneficiary When you retire from service or begin receiving a Coverage B disability retirement benefit, you can elect an option to provide a lifetime benefit to someone after your death. In addition, you can elect a preretirement election of an option when you are eligible, but not yet ready, to retire, even if you are receiving a Coverage A disability benefit. Electing an option will modify your monthly retirement benefit. Your Options You can elect: 100% Beneficiary Option Your beneficiary will receive the same monthly amount you received during retirement. 75% Beneficiary Option Your beneficiary will receive 75 percent of the monthly amount you received during retirement. 50% Beneficiary Option Your beneficiary will receive 50 percent of the monthly amount you received during retirement. Compound Option You may elect a number of beneficiaries and mixed percentages to receive a lifetime benefit after you die. To help you decide if a preretirement election of an option or the survivor benefit would be most beneficial to your loved ones, see “Protecting Your Loved Ones Before You Retire” and “Survivor Benefits” in the Member Handbook. If you are eligible, but not yet ready, to retire and are considering electing an option beneficiary, contact CalSTRS to meet with a benefits counselor or attend a workshop or group counseling session to learn more about how this decision can affect your future retirement benefit. Reporting a Death When reporting the death of a member or beneficiary, notify us as soon as possible so that we can update the account. Information you will need: • Deceased person’s name and Social Security or Client ID number. • Date of death. • Name, address and telephone number of a contact person. Report a Death Online You can report a death, provide contact information and submit a death certificate online. A caseworker will be assigned within two days of receiving the report. To report a member or beneficiary death online, visit CalSTRS.com/contactus (select Notification of Death). Payment of Benefits CalSTRS generally pays benefits to beneficiaries or your estate within 45 days of receiving all of the requested information. Payment may be delayed for a variety of reasons, including if CalSTRS does not: • Receive required documentation, such as marriage and death certificates. • Have a current Recipient Designation form on file that identifies the name and address of each recipient. More information can be found in the Member Handbook, available at CalSTRS.com/publications. CalSTRS Survivor Benefits 2012 5
6) Organize Your Important Records Take the time to share your plans with your loved ones. Your Important Documents Where You Keep Them Will and trust documents Marriage or registration of domestic partnership certificates, divorce decrees, birth certificates and adoption papers State and federal income tax returns Insurance documents Banking records Credit card records CalSTRS benefits information Other Safe Deposit Box Location Key location Who has access Organizations and Associations You Belong To Other People Familiar With Your Affairs Attorney/trustee Spiritual adviser Physician Other Who Should Be Notified in the Event of Your Death? CalSTRS 800-228-5453 Other 6 CalSTRS Survivor Benefits 2012 Social Security Administration 800-772-1213 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 800-827-1000
7) Your Important Documents
8) CalSTRS Resources WEB CALL WRITE VISIT FAX CalSTRS.com Click Contact Us to email 800-228-5453 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday CalSTRS P. O. Box 15275 Sacramento, CA 95851-0275 Member Services 100 Waterfront Place West Sacramento, CA 95605 916-414-5040 403bCompare.com Pension2.com CalSTRSBenefits.us 888-394-2060 CalSTRS Pension2® Personal Wealth Plan Find your nearest CalSTRS office at CalSTRS.com/localoffices 855-844-2468 Pension Abuse Reporting Hotline California State Teachers’ Retirement System P Box 15275 .O. Sacramento CA 95851-0275 800-228-5453 CalSTRS.com COM 1651 (rev 2/12)