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Survivor Benefits

If I select Option 2 or 3 when I retire and name my spouse as joint annuitant, what happens if my joint annuitant dies or we divorce? May I change my option and/or my joint annuitant?

Your retirement options cannot be changed after your retirement. If your joint annuitant dies before you, your monthly retirement benefit "pops-up" (increases) to the equivalent of the Maximum retirement plan. In the case of a divorce the contract remains in force and your joint annuitant (ex-spouse) will receive your monthly benefit after your death unless a Court, acting through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, directs otherwise.

What about the $5,000 death benefit that will be paid at my death? Who is the beneficiary and can I change the beneficiary if necessary?

Statutes provide that the beneficiary(s) of a retired member will receive a $5,000 death benefit following the member's death. This applies regardless the retirement option you selected or how long you receive benefits. When more than one beneficiary is named, the $5,000 is divided equally among the surviving beneficiaries. You can change the beneficiary for the $5,000 death benefit at anytime.

How do I change my beneficiary designation?

Active members should obtain a Beneficiary Designation Form for active members (2A). It is very important to keep your beneficiary designation up to date. The Beneficiary Designation form provides for up to three primary beneficiaries and up to three contingent beneficiaries. It is not necessary to name six individual beneficiaries but you should name at least one primary and one contingent beneficiary. Your estate or a trust fund can be named as the beneficiary to your account. TRS requests you provide a copy of your trust if named as a beneficiary. Retired members may also change their beneficiary designation by obtaining a Beneficiary Designation form for retired members (2R). Just as with Active Members, TRS would like to remind you that it is very important to keep your beneficiary designation up to date.

Click here to view all TRS forms

Last Modified on Nov 12, 2022
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