Death and Survivor Benefits

for Retirees in the Original ECO Plan

Death Benefit

As an IMRF retiree, you have important death benefits you should know about:

If you did not have an eligible spouse at the time you retired, you received a refund of your surviving spouse contributions. A surviving spouse pension will not be payable to a future spouse.

Lump Sum Benefit

IMRF pays a $3,000 death benefit to the beneficiary you named on your IMRF "Designation of Beneficiary" form (Available in Member Access):

If you die before you receive the total amount of the member contributions you paid into IMRF as an active member, your lump sum death benefit will also include this "guaranteed amount." If you have an eligible surviving spouse, your guaranteed amount will not be part of the lump sum benefit; it will be paid out through the survivor's pension. Your guaranteed amount total is included on the Certificate of Benefits you were sent when you retired from IMRF. 

You can view a current estimate of your death benefits in your Member Access account.

Surviving Spouse Pension

Your spouse will be eligible for a surviving spouse pension if you:

The effective date of your pension is shown on your Certificate of Benefits.

Additional Information About Surviving Spouse Pensions

If your eligible spouse dies and you remarry or enter into a new civil union, your current spouse could be eligible for an IMRF spouse pension if:

If you had an eligible spouse at retirement but you divorce or dissolve a civil union after retirement, your former spouse remains eligible for your surviving spouse pension, even if you remarry. 

ECO Surviving Spouse Pension Amount

At age 50 and older, the spouse will receive a monthly pension equal to 66-2/3% of the deceased member's pension including annual increases (minimum amount 10% of ECO salary). However, the spouse may choose benefits payable under the ECO plan or under the Regular plan, including the annual increases. If the deceased member has minor children, IMRF pays an ECO Surviving Spouse with Child’s Pension.

ECO Surviving Spouse with Child’s Pension Amount

If the spouse is caring for the member’s minor, unmarried children, the age 50 requirement does not apply. The amount of the ECO Surviving Spouse with Child’s Pension is based on 30% of the deceased member’s final ECO salary, plus an additional 10% for each minor child. The combined benefit cannot exceed 66 2/3% of the pension the deceased member had been receiving or 50% of the member’s last reported salary. When a child turns 18 or marries (whichever occurs first), the monthly benefit amount is recalculated (reduced).

When no minor children remain, benefit payments under the ECO Spouse Pension with Child’s benefits stop and the spouse begins receiving an ECO Surviving Spouse Pension. (If at that time the spouse is less than age 50, benefit payments will stop and will resume when the spouse reaches age 50.)

ECO Child’s Pension When the Spouse is Not Eligible

If the spouse is not eligible for a surviving spouse pension or if the surviving spouse dies, the child’s pension remains payable to the ECO member’s minor (under age 18) unmarried children.

Each eligible child will receive a monthly pension equal to 20% of the pension the ECO member had been receiving. The maximum total monthly benefit payable to all children cannot exceed 75% of the member’s ECO salary last reported to IMRF. If the maximum amount is reached, all minor children will equally share that amount.

A child’s pension is discontinued at the earlier of:

Adopted children are treated the same as natural children if proceedings for adoption commenced one year before date of death. However, stepchildren (that are not adopted) are not eligible for an ECO child’s pension.