Death and Survivor Benefits

for Retirees in the Tier 1 Regular 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. 

Surviving Spouse Pension Amount

The amount of the surviving spouse pension under Tier 1 is usually 50% of your pension, including the annual 3% increases.

If you selected the optional payment plan (a larger pension before age 62 and a smaller one after), the surviving spouse pension will be based on the standard payment plan, including the annual 3% increases that would have been paid had you selected the standard payment plan.

If you retired under the IMRF Early Retirement Incentive (ERI), the amount of the surviving spouse pension is 50% of the ERI enhanced pension you were receiving, including 3% annual increases.

Tier 1 surviving spouse pensions are increased each January 1 by 3% of the original surviving spouse pension amount.