Beneficiary/Death Benefits

Whether and what benefits are payable to your survivors depends, in part, on if your death occurs while you are active, deferred, or retired. In all cases, however, the following important points apply:

  • Remember to keep your beneficiary information current, especially if you are unmarried and have no children under 18. Don't take the risk of having your pension go to the wrong person, or worse, revert back to the state because you have no spouse or child and no beneficiary form on file. Use ORS's Beneficiary Nomination form to tell us who you want to receive your benefit as long as you are an active member. If you are deferred, use the Deferred Service Retirement Beneficiary Designation form, provided by your human resource office when you leave state employment.
  • Anyone who receives a monthly payment after your death is

     

    Tell Us Your Beneficiary Wishes

    Keep your beneficiary designation current, especially if you're not married and have no minor children.

    also eligible for insurance coverage.
  • Be sure your survivors know to contact your human resource office and ORS upon your death. There could be other types of funds payable such as personal contributions, insurance payments, or deferred compensation funds. The Employee Benefits Division also provides some helpful information on the Michigan Civil Service Commission website.

If you die while an active member.

If your death is not a result of an injury or illness incurred at work, it is called a nonduty death. A monthly benefit to your survivor(s) may be payable if you were vested; it is calculated as if you retired on your date of death and elected the 100% survivor option. 

If you have not named a beneficiary using the ORS Beneficiary Nomination form, the monthly benefit is paid to your surviving spouse. If you have no surviving spouse, it is split among your children under the age of 18. If you have no surviving spouse or children under 18, no continuing monthly benefit will be payable unless ORS has your signed Beneficiary Nomination form on file. In addition to your spouse, child or adopted child, you can name a parent, sibling, or grandchild as the beneficiary for your pension. 

If you die from a work-related injury or illness incurred during your state employment (considered a duty death), your spouse and children under age 21 are eligible for a survivor pension and insurances, regardless of your age or years of service at the time of death. A benefit might be payable to a disabled, dependent parent if there is no surviving spouse or eligible child.

If you die as a deferred member.

If you die after working at least ten years for the state but before you're old enough to draw your pension, a monthly survivor pension will be payable to your beneficiary as of the month following the month you would have attained age 60. 

When you leave state service, your human resource office will have you complete a Deferred Service Retirement Beneficiary Designation form. You can name your spouse, child or adopted child, parent, sibling, or grandchild as the beneficiary for your pension. If you have not designated a beneficiary, the monthly benefit is paid to your surviving spouse. If you have no surviving spouse, it is split among your children under the age of 18. If you have no surviving spouse or children under 18, no continuing monthly benefit will be payable unless ORS has your beneficiary designation on file. You can change the beneficiary at any time while you are in deferred status, using the same form.

If you die after leaving state employment and before you are vested, no survivor pension is payable. However, your beneficiary/survivors should still contact ORS to see if there are any personal contribution funds on account.

If you die after you retire.

A monthly pension (as well as continued insurance benefits) is payable only if you elected one of the survivor options when you applied for your pension. However, even if you didn't elect a survivor option there could still be monies payable such as unredeemed pension payment(s) or personal contributions remaining in your account, so keep your beneficiary designation current.