Designating Public Employee Disability Retirement Association Beneficiaries
Whether you are a member of CalPERS, OCERS LACERA, CalSTRS, SDCers, VCERA, SBCera it is important that you understand and complete the necessary forms to designate your beneficiary. It is also extremely important to keep your beneficiary information updated as things change in your life.
What Is Public Employee Retirement Association Choice of Beneficiary?
If you are a Teacher, Police Officer, Firefighter, Corrections Officer, Administrator or other Public Employee your Retirement Association will be required to fill out a form called a “Choice of Beneficiary” or “Beneficiary Designation” (or something very similar). That form – and that form alone – determines who will receive your “survivor” benefits should the unthinkable happen and you pass away.
When a new public employee is hired, they will be asked to complete a Sworn Choice of Beneficiary Statement form as part of their initial paperwork. The form asks the CalPERS, OCERS LACERA, CalSTRS, SDCers, VCERA, SBCera member to specify who they want to receive any benefits that may be payable upon their death while in public service and/or after retirement.
Young, unmarried employees often choose their parents or sibling(s) to be their beneficiary. Married individuals usually choose their spouse and children as beneficiaries. However, the member is entirely free to choose whomever they desire.
Changing Public Employee Retirement Association Choice of Beneficiary
Understandably, humans don’t like to think about their eventual death – and so the issue of one’s beneficiaries or “survivors” often goes out of mind after the initial paperwork is signed. But as the years progress, everyone’s situation changes to some degree – so it is important to keep your Public Employee Retirement Association’s “Choice of Beneficiary” form updated as things change.
The birth of children, a divorce, or even the death of a spouse can change who you want to be the eventual beneficiary of any death benefits to which your survivors may be entitled.
Unfortunately, many people forget about the paperwork they completed at time of hire and wrongly assume that their current spouse “automatically” becomes their beneficiary of Retirement Association benefits. But this is NOT the case.
Yes, Social Security DOES “automatically” determine who your “survivor” is according to whom you are married to (and for how long). But, Retirement Association death benefits are more like Life Insurance, in that they go to whomever is listed on the form – and do not automatically go to whomever is your current spouse.
Sadly, in more than one situation, our disability retirement lawyers have seen cases where a CalPERS, OCERS LACERA, CalSTRS, SDCers, VCERA, SBCera member did NOT update their Choice of Beneficiary after a divorce and remarriage. This resulted in their ex-spouse – and not their current spouse – receiving the applicable benefits. Obviously, this is probably not at all what they intended!
If you are a CalPERS, OCERS LACERA, CalSTRS, SDCers, VCERA, SBCera or other Public Employee Retirement Association member, always remember to keep your sworn Choice of Beneficiary current after any major life changes. This will ensure that the correct loved one will receive any of your hard earned benefits to which they are entitled after you are gone.
Public Employee Disability Retirement Lawyers
We are one of very few Los Angeles area law firms that are highly specialized in Public Employees Disability Retirement. Our attorneys have filed hundreds of successful disability retirement applications and appeals and have obtained millions of dollars in disability retirement benefits for our clients.
Our attorneys can help disabled public employees obtain their disability retirement benefits from any public employee retirement system in California. If you are an injured police officer, firefighter, teacher, administrator or other public employee, who is applying for or appealing disability retirement benefits, call us today.
Free Consultation with a Disability Retirement Lawyer: 800-964-8047