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Old 05-12-2016, 09:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
What kind of pension was this? It seems typical here that the surviving spouse receives a default 50% of pension regardless of the timing of the death.


I think it is a misconception that spouses would typically receive 50% of the pension (I am assuming you are referring to an annuity payment ) . I only really know the plans I have been associated with over the years (3) and they all defaulted to a lump sum payment of the vested value of the plan which would have been substantially less than the NPV of what the annuity would have been.

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Old 05-12-2016, 10:18 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
What kind of pension was this? It seems typical here that the surviving spouse receives a default 50% of pension regardless of the timing of the death.

The plan is CalPERS, the public employee retirement system. The pension is through SMUD, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the electric company in Sacramento, a municipal utility.

The situation is this; If you die and you have not actually retired, even if eligible to retire, PERS will pay back that portion the employee paid into the system and give back to the employer, those funds they submitted, usually matching funds of some sort. It's a lump sum payment. This is also a very small life insurance policy that is attached, only a few thousand dollars I believe. SMUD made it a requirement that all employees who are married to have their spouse attend a seminar to explain the pension so they understood what the ramifications are, how to apply for power of atty, and how to initiate an emergency retirement for their spouse if they die suddenly.

From their website;

  • CalPERS members are eligible for various death benefits.
  • Death benefits range from a simple return of contributions (plus interest) to a monthly allowance.
  • Each member's death benefits can vary significantly, depending on circumstances, data, and employer contract.

I think every person needs to know and understand exactly what their pension benefits are, especially if they die before they actually retire.
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:20 AM   #23
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I started getting my monthly survivor's pension this year, several years after my husband's death. My husband was vested with that company but had not worked there for for several years. It took me a whole year to trace and get the paperwork set up.

The original company had been sold over the years but I found the original paperwork filed away and started the process of getting it started. I think the pension was under several layers of red tape and was finally traced to an insurance company. husband died 10 years ago and I'm now getting a small monthly survivors pension that began this year.

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