Death and Survivor Benefits

for Tier 1 Regular Plan Members
Beach

IMRF Death Benefits Protect Your Survivors

As an IMRF member, you are not only earning an IMRF pension—you also have important death benefits you should know about.

The amount and type of your IMRF death benefits depends upon your:

To view a current estimate of your IMRF death benefits, sign into your Member Access account.

Active Member Death Benefits

You are considered an active IMRF member if you are:

If your IMRF service credit is: Your death benefits are:
Less than one year If your death is job related, a lump sum equal to one year’s salary plus any balance in your member account
Instead of the lump sum, a beneficiary annuity may be payable.
If your death is NOT job related, a lump sum equal to any balance in your member account
More than one year but less than eight years A lump sum equal to one year's salary plus any balance in your member account.
Instead of the lump sum, a beneficiary annuity may be payable.
Eight or more years
(you are vested for an IMRF pension)
If you have an eligible spouse, your spouse may choose:
  • A monthly surviving spouse pension plus a $3,000 payment
  • A lump sum equal to one year's earnings plus any balance in your member account.
If you DO NOT have an eligible spouse, a lump sum equal to one year's salary plus any balance in your member account.
Instead of the lump sum, a beneficiary annuity may be payable.

When is a Surviving Spouse Eligible?

For your spouse to be eligible for active member death benefits:

  1. You must be an active IMRF member at the time of your death.
  2. You must have named your spouse as your only primary beneficiary on your IMRF Designation of Beneficiary form.
  3. The date of your marriage or civil union must be at least one year prior to your death.

What is the Balance in Your Member Account?

The balance in your member account is the accumulation of your member contributions, plus any interest earned on your contributions and less any benefit prepayments.

What is a benefit prepayment?

Any time a benefit is paid out of your account using estimated payments, we may initially pay out a higher payment than you or your beneficiary(ies) is entitled to. This is called a “prepayment.” IMRF is required by law to recover prepayments, typically through reductions from future benefit payments.

Additional Surviving Spouse Pension Information

How Divorce Can Affect Your Designation of Beneficiary

If you named your spouse as your primary beneficiary and you later divorce, your former spouse is no longer considered a beneficiary. If you want any other arrangement, you must file a new designation of beneficiary.

Different rules apply for members who divorce after they begin receiving an IMRF pension.

You Can Provide an Additional Optional Death Benefit

The Special Needs Annuity option gives you the choice of receiving a smaller IMRF pension so you can provide a lifetime pension for someone else upon your death. With a Special Needs Annuity, you can:

You must choose this option by retuning a completed “Special Needs Annuity Application” by the time you return your retirement application.

If you choose a Special Needs Annuity:

Read the Special Needs Annuity brochure for more information