5. 30 B. Types and Amounts of IMRF Death Benefits

The legal or designated beneficiary receives the death benefits payable when a member or beneficiary dies.

  1. Members can designate a Beneficiary

A member may designate any person, persons, organization or trust as the beneficiary (ies).  However, to
ensure a spouse can select a surviving spouse pension if the member dies before retiring, (and if a surviving spouse pension is otherwise payable), the member must have a valid designation of beneficiary form on file with IMRF naming the spouse as the only primary beneficiary.

If a member names his or her spouse as co-beneficiary with other beneficiaries, the spouse would share in the lump sum death benefit. Under this arrangement, the spouse would not be eligible for a surviving spouse pension.

  1. Default Benficiaries

Upon the death of a member without a valid designation on file with IMRF, the member’s estate is the beneficiary.

  1. Retired Members with a spouse eligible for a surviving spouse pension

Upon the death of a retired member with a surviving spouse who is qualified to receive a surviving spouse pension, the member may designate any person, persons, organization, or trust to receive the $3,000 lump sum death benefit. The surviving spouse pension is only payable to the qualifying surviving spouse.

  1. Marital status

A member who is or has been married or in a civil union remains in that status for death benefit purposes until a final court judgment of annulment, invalidity of marriage/civil union, or divorce. A judgment or decree of legal separation or separate maintenance does not terminate the marriage/civil union.

If when a member retires, he or she has a spouse who is eligible for a surviving spouse pension, that spouse remains eligible for the surviving spouse pension even if the member and spouse later divorce.

  1. Designated Beneficiaries

Refer to 6.10 B. Designation of Beneficiary for an explanation of beneficiary designation rules.

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