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Surviving Spouse Pension

When a retired member dies, IMRF will pay a $3,000 death benefit to the beneficiary designated by the deceased retiree.

IMRF also pays a pension to the member's spouse if the member and spouse were married or in a civil union for at least one year prior to the date the member stopped participating in IMRF and they were married or in a civil union when the member applied for his/her IMRF pension.

If the eligible spouse dies and the retired member remarries or enters into a new civil union, the current spouse could be eligible for an IMRF spouse pension if the:

  • Previous eligible spouse is deceased and
  • Date of marriage or civil union between the current spouse and member is at least one year prior to the member's death and
  • Member terminated IMRF participation on or after March 26, 1992.

If the member retired under Tier 1:

  • The amount of the surviving spouse benefit is usually 50% of the (standard) pension, including the yearly 3% cost-of-living increase.
  • If the retired Tier 1 member chose to receive the "optional pension" (a larger pension before age 62 and a smaller one thereafter), the surviving spouse benefit will be based on the standard plan, including the yearly 3% increase that would have been paid had the standard plan been chosen.
  • If the member retired under the IMRF Early Retirement Incentive (ERI), the amount of the surviving spouse benefit is 50% of the ERI enhanced pension the retired member was receiving at date of death, including 3% yearly increases.

If the member retired under Tier 2:

  • The amount of the surviving spouse benefit is 66-2/3% of the (standard) pension, including the increase of the lower of 3% or one-half of the increase in the Consumer Price Index (urban) for the preceding year of the original amount. If the CPI decreases or is zero, no increase is paid.

Additional questions for those receiving surviving spouse pensions:

What happens if I remarry or enter into a new civil union?

As a surviving spouse, do I have any death benefits?


If you have questions regarding IMRF, Communicate with Us.

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IMRF Online provides a brief summary of IMRF benefits and the adminstration of those benefits. IMRF members' and employers' rights and obligations are governed by Article 7 of the Illinois Pension Code. Statements in these publications are general, and the Illinois state law governing IMRF is complex and specific. If a conflict arises between information in these publications and the law, all decisions are based on the law.

Copyright Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund

Page Last Updated by LH on 07-17-12