Office of the State Comptroller
Retirement Services Division
CMERS - Retirement Basics - Counseling Workshop on the Web

Survivor Benefits
Overview
Option D - Straight Life Annuity
Option A - 50% Spouse
Option B - 50% or 100% Contingent Annuitant
Option C - 10 Year or 20 Year Period Certain
Spousal Waiver
Certification of Marital Status 

Overview

  • The survivor option dictates what benefits, if any, are payable after your death.
     
  • When you retire you must select one of 4 different income payment options (Survivor Options).
CMERS INCOME PAYMENT ELECTION FORM - Option A
PDF format WORD format
CMERS INCOME PAYMENT ELECTION FORM - Option B
PDF format WORD format
CMERS INCOME PAYMENT ELECTION FORM - Option C
PDF format WORD format
CMERS INCOME PAYMENT ELECTION FORM - Option D
PDF format WORD format
  • This choice is irrevocable. You will not be able to switch to another option for any reason including but not limited to death or divorce once your pension goes into pay status.
     
  • Regardless of the option you choose, you will receive a monthly pension for the rest of your life.
     
  • The cost of selecting a survivor option varies according to the option you choose; your age; and, in some cases, the age of the person you are protecting. For an estimate of the cost under any of the different survivor options please refer to the appropriate benefit estimator:
CMERS Part A Benefit Estimator
CMERS Part B Benefit Estimator

Certification of Marital Status PDF format

  • Unmarried (single) members of CMERS may choose any payment election option they wish to choose. Single members must execute this form attesting to the fact that they are not married or subject to a spouse's consent.
     
  • If you have been married less than one year (twelve months) as of the date of retirement you are not required to provide a lifetime benefit (Option A or B) to your spouse. If you have been married under one year you need to execute this form if you do not provide an option that provides a lifetime benefit for your spouse.

Spousal Waiver PDF format

  • A member who has been married at least one year at the time of retirement must provide a lifetime benefit (Option A or B) to his/her spouse unless the spouse signs a waiver consenting to a different payment election.
     
  • If you, at the time of retirement, have been married for at least one year and do not choose payment Option A or Option B naming your current spouse as the annuitant, you and your spouse are required to execute this form.
     
  • You need to fill out Part II Member's Statement and your spouse needs to execute Part III Spouse Waiver in front of a Notary.

Option D - Straight Life Annuity PDF format

  • This option pays you the maximum monthly benefit for your lifetime only.
    • All benefits will end upon your death.
    • This is the “default” option for single members.

Option A - 50% Spouse PDF format

  • This benefit guarantees a monthly benefit for you and your spouse.
     
  • This option will pay you a reduced benefit for your lifetime in exchange for the protection that, should you pre-decease your spouse, CMERS will continue to pay 50% of your reduced benefit for your spouse’s lifetime.
     
  • Your benefit will be reduced by a factor that accounts for both your age and your spouse’s age.
     
  • This option is available to retirees who are married at the time of retirement.
     
  • This option is required for retirees who have been married for more than one year and have not obtained a spouse waiver.
     
  • Under no circumstances can you change options or replace your spouse with another annuitant.
     
  • If you are married, it is statutorily required that you provide your spouse with a lifetime monthly benefit unless your spouse executes a waiver giving up this benefit.

Option B - 50% or 100% Contingent Annuitant PDF format

  • This option provides you a reduced monthly benefit for your life and allows you to guarantee lifetime payments after your death to any one person. After your death, a percentage of your reduced benefit, either 50% or 100%, whichever you choose, will continue for your contingent annuitant’s life.
    • Your benefit will be reduced by a factor that takes into account the level of protection you are guaranteeing (50% or 100%) along with your age and the age of your contingent annuitant.
       
  • Your contingent annuitant can be any one person. This person does not need to be a spouse or a family member, although you are free to name a spouse under this option.
     
  • Under no circumstances can you change options or substitute your contingent annuitant.

Option C - 10 Year or 20 Year Period Certain PDF format

  • This option provides you a reduced monthly benefit for your lifetime in exchange for the guarantee that monthly benefits will be paid for at least 10 or 20 years from your retirement date (whichever you choose).
     
  • If you should die within 10 years (120 payments) or 20 years (240 payments) from your date of retirement, the remaining payments, in accordance with your selection, will be made to your contingent annuitant(s).
    • This is the only option that allows you to name more than one contingent annuitant, each of whom would receive any remaining monthly payments in equal shares.
       
  • Your benefit will be reduced by a factor that takes into account the period of time for which you are providing protection and your age. Under this option, the age of your contingent annuitant(s) does not impact the amount of your monthly benefit.
     
  • Your named contingent annuitant(s) will only receive benefits under this option if you die within the protected period.
    • This option provides no guarantee of benefits to anyone other than the retiree beyond the protection period.
       
    • Although your pension will continue for your lifetime, if you die after the State has paid all of the guaranteed payments, all benefits will end upon your death.
       
  • If your contingent annuitant dies before you, and the protection period has not expired, you may name a new contingent annuitant.
     
  • Under no circumstances can you change your option.

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