When Your Surviving Spouse Pension Starts
Your surviving spouse pension becomes payable on the first day of the month following the death of the retired member. If we have not finished processing your benefit by this date, you will receive your first payment after this date but it will include a retroactive payment back to the date your pension became payable.
You will receive a separate letter from IMRF that explains your first payment and what months your first payment covers.
Your payments will be directly deposited into your account on the first of the month. You will need to fill out an "Application for Direct Deposit" form. You may receive your first payment as a paper check if we have processed this payment before we had a chance to verify your direct deposit information with your bank.
Your surviving spouse pension will be increased each January. Your increase amount is calculated on your original benefit amount, and will be the lower of:
- One-half of the increase in the Consumer Price Index (urban) for the preceding year. If the CPI decreases or is zero, you will not receive an increase for that year.
Supplemental Pension Payment (13th Payment)
As a surviving spouse, you will receive a supplemental payment each July. The amount is a percentage of your June monthly payment amount.
If You are Under Age 60
If you are under age 60, you can choose between a standard pension and an optional pension. The optional pension provides a larger pension until age 60, but the amount is reduced once you reach age 60. Often the decrease in your pension once you reach age 60 results in a much smaller pension amount. We will provide you with detailed information on both of these options for you to consider.
You Will Receive Your Pension Even If You Remarry
You will receive your survivor's pension for the rest of your life. Remarrying or entering into a new civil union does not affect your surviving spouse pension.
Even though there may be no change in your pension, you do need to advise us of any name or address change to make sure your payments do not get interrupted. The fastest and easiest way to submit a name or address change is through Member Access. You can also mail or fax us your changes, but you must include your signature or we cannot accept them.
Death Benefit if You Are Receiving A Surviving Spouse Pension
Unlike the death benefit paid when an IMRF retiree dies, there is no death benefit paid when someone receiving a surviving spouse pension dies. However, if any part of the IMRF member's contributions (including interest earned to the date of the member's retirement) have not been paid as retirement and/or surviving spouse pension benefits, IMRF will pay the remainder of these contributions to the retired member’s beneficiary(ies).
If member contributions with interest have already been paid as retirement or surviving spouse pension benefits, there is no benefit of any type paid upon the death of a person receiving a surviving spouse pension.