Will my beneficiaries receive a death benefit if I pass away prior to retirement?
Yes, in most cases. If you are a Tier 1 member, the in-service death benefit is generally 1/12th of your last 12 months of regular compensation for each year of service to a maximum of three times earnings.
If you are a Tier 2-6 member, the in-service death benefit, known as the Paragraph 2 death benefit, is generally one year’s salary after a year of service, two years’ salary after two years, and three years’ salary after three or more years. There is a cap on the maximum amount of salary considered for calculating the death benefit. Review your Benefit Profile, available online to those with a MyNYSTRS account, for the amount specific to you.
See the Active Members’ Handbook for details on other death benefit coverage that may apply (e.g., post-retirement, vested, accidental, and accelerated).
You may change your beneficiary designation(s) prior to retirement by using the Beneficiaries tab under My Retirement in your secure MyNYSTRS account or by filing a notarized paper form Designation of Beneficiary For In-Service or Post-Retirement Paragraph 2 Death Benefit (NET-11.4).
Instances in which a death benefit likely would not be payable include:
- The member was not vested and had little to no service in the year prior to passing.
- The member worked for a non-participating employer of NYSTRS, such as a charter school that elected not to participate in NYSTRS.
Beneficiaries unsure of their eligibility for a death benefit should contact NYSTRS at (800) 348-7298, Ext, 6110.