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What Your Survivors Should Know

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Michigan Office of Retirement Services

What Your Survivors Should Know

What Your Survivors Should Know

When you applied for your pension, you elected either a straight life option, which provides no ongoing benefit after your death, or one of the survivor options, which continues payments for the lifetime of the person you named as your survivor pension beneficiary.

If you elected your spouse as a survivor pension beneficiary after your pension began, upon your death they will be eligible for ongoing pension payments for their lifetime providing your death occurs 12 months after the election. If your death occurs within 12 months of the election, pension payments will stop 12 months after your death.

Whether ongoing benefits are due or not, your survivor should contact us upon your death. We'll ask for your Social Security number so we can stop your payments and review your record to see if anything more is payable.

Continued insurance for your survivors.

If you elected a survivor option for your pension, your designated pension beneficiary can enroll in or continue group insurances after your death. In some situations, they may be able to enroll others for insurance coverage. See the chart below.

Pension Beneficiary


Surviving spouse of retiree

Can enroll:

  • Self.
  • Child of retiree.
  • New spouse (at the unsubsidized rate).
  • Either the retiree's parent(s) or the surviving spouse's parent(s) residing in the same household as the surviving spouse (one set of parents or the other, but not both).
Surviving child of retiree

Can enroll:

  • Self.
  • Siblings in the surviving child's care as long as they are the retiree's children.
  • Parent, who was the retiree's spouse, who is living in your household and has had continuous coverage.
Premium subsidy benefit. If you have the premium subsidy benefit, and chose a survivor pension beneficiary, your eligible dependents who were covered at the time of your death will also continue to receive insurance benefits, as long as they remain eligible.

If you elected your survivor pension beneficiary after your pension began, upon your death they will remain eligible for insurance coverage but must pay the entire premium. The premiums will be deducted from the pension. If the pension does not cover the entire cost of the monthly premium, a bill will be sent for the remainder.

Personal Healthcare Fund. If you chose the Personal Healthcare Fund and chose a survivor pension beneficiary, your eligible dependents who were covered at the time of your death have the option to continue insurance benefits. However, they will continue to be responsible for the entire premium, and if they disenroll from the plan at any time, they will not be able to reenroll.

If you chose the straight life option, coverage for your enrolled spouse and dependents stops on the last day of the month of your death. However, they may be eligible to continue insurance coverage for up to 36 months through COBRA or for an unsubsidized group conversion policy as described in Your Insurance Benefits.