Lawyers Explain SDCERA Death Benefits
SDCERA, or the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System, was established by the City of San Diego in 1927 to administer retirement benefits for employees of the City of San Diego. It provides comprehensive member services and benefits to nearly 20,000 active, retired and deferred members.
SDCERA Provides Different Categories of Death Benefits
One of the benefits provided by SDCERA is a death benefit, which basically means if you should die, there may be money available for your spouse, children or other named beneficiaries.
There are several categories of death benefits your beneficiary would receive, depending on whether you were still working or were retired at the time of your death and if the death was caused by your work. These categories are explained below.
SDCERA Death Benefits While Actively Employed
If you die while you are still working but you have not yet become eligible for retirement, then your beneficiaries may be entitled to an “active death benefit.” This means your beneficiary will receive your retirement contributions with interest plus one month of pay for each year of service credit (not to exceed one-half of your final compensation). This amount can either be paid in a lump sum or in monthly installments for up to 120 months.
SDCERA Death Benefits While Eligible to Retire
If you are still working when you die but you have already reached the age and length of service making you eligible to retire, then your beneficiaries may receive a “death while eligible benefit.” In this case, your spouse would receive the benefit either monthly for life or in a lump sum. If your minor children are your primary beneficiary, they would receive the death benefit up until they are 18 years old if you are a City Member, and 21 years of age for Port and Airport Members. This benefit pays approximately half of what you would have received had you already retired on the day you died.
SDCERA Industrial Death Benefit
If you are working and your death was caused by your employment, then your beneficiary may be entitled to the “industrial death benefit.” This benefit, similar to the Death While Eligible to Retire, is paid to your spouse monthly for life or by lump sum, or to your minor children until they are 18 years old for City Members, and 21 years of age for Port and Airport Members. Here, the monthly allowance is approximately half of your monthly salary.
SDCERA Death Benefit While in Deferred Retirement Option Plan
If you pass away while in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), your beneficiar(ies) will receive the money in your DROP account as well as a $2,000 death benefit. Separate beneficiaries may be designated to receive the DROP account and the $2,000 death benefit. Also, some options allow for your beneficiary to receive a continuance benefit.
SDCERA Limited Death Benefit
If you die while you are no longer working for the plan sponsor but have not retired from SDCERA, then your beneficiar(ies) will receive a return of whatever you had contributed, plus interest.
SDCERA Retiree Death Benefit
If you are retired and pass away, your designated beneficiary will receive a $2,000 death benefit, along with any additional money owed at the time of your death. Some examples of additional monies that may be owed are the 13th Check and Corbett benefits, along with any unpaid retirement allowance.
SDCERA Continuance Benefit
If you selected a lifetime continuance benefit when you signed up for retirement, your designated continuance beneficiary will receive a monthly benefit for the remainder of his or her lifetime upon your death. The continuance benefit is elected by you when you retire and cannot be changed under any circumstance.
SDCERA maintains a website that gives you quite a bit of information for survivors and beneficiaries. However, upon the death of a loved one, the last thing a surviving spouse or beneficiary will want to do is research what benefits they are entitled to. Our attorneys are very familiar with SDCERA and its policies and procedures, and we will be more than happy to shed light on what could be a very confusing process.
Free Consultation with an SDCERA Lawyers: 800-964-8047
This article applies to members of San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System (SDCERA); and does not reflect the rules, laws or regulations governing how other public retirement systems are administered. If you have question about another public employee retirement system, find your system, below – or call our office at: 562-622-4800