Beneficiary & Survivor Benefits

If you die before you begin to collect monthly benefits from the Unclassified Plan, your marital status determines who will receive survivor coverage and the type of coverage available.

Surviving spouse coverage
Surviving spouse coverage under the Unclassified Plan is automatic and continues upon remarriage. You can elect a non-spousal beneficiary; however, both you and your spouse must sign a waiver in the presence of a notary to have the surviving spouse benefits waived.

Upon your death, your surviving spouse will have a choice among the following options:

  1. Lifetime monthly payments based on your spouse's age and the value of your account.

  2. The value of the lifetime payments can be accelerated that would last 10, 15 or 20 years.

  3. A lump-sum payment of the cash value of your account, which would be taxable unless rolled into a qualified plan.

  4. A combination of a lump-sum payment and monthly benefits based on the remainder of the account value. If a lump-sum payment is selected, the monthly benefit must begin immediately.

If your surviving spouse dies with value remaining in the account, the balance of your account is paid to your spouse's children in equal shares, spouse's parents, or to your spouse's estate.

If there is no surviving spouse - or - spousal coverage was waived
The value of your account will be paid to your designated beneficiary. If there is no beneficiary, the value of your account is payable to your children in equal shares, if no children, to your parents, if no parents, to your estate.

Survivor benefits and converting to the General Plan
As a member of the Unclassified Plan, you may be eligible to convert to the General Plan. Here are some things you should consider with regard to the survivor benefits:

  • Often, the monthly surviving spouse benefits payable from the General Plan are greater than the survivor spouse benefits payable from the Unclassified Plan.

  • If you become seriously ill or if surviving spouse coverage is important to you, it may be beneficial to switch to the General Plan.

  • The Unclassified Plan generally provides higher value to a non-spouse beneficiary. Under the General Plan, a beneficiary is only entitled to your contributions, plus interest. Under the Unclassified Plan, the beneficiary receives the entire value of your account, including the employee and employer contributions, and any investment gains.

To receive an estimate of survivor benefits each plan would pay, call MSRS at 1-800-657-5757.