Reporting a Death
Contact CalSTRS as soon as possible to notify us of the death of any of the following so we can update the account:
- A member.
- An option beneficiary.
- A benefit recipient.
CalSTRS will need the following information:
- Deceased person’s name and Social Security number or CalSTRS Client ID.
- Date of death.
- Individual’s status immediately preceding death:
- A member in active teaching status.
- Name of option beneficiary recipient.
- Name of one-time death benefit recipient.
- Name, address and telephone number of a contact person.
You can submit an online Notification of Death to report the death of a CalSTRS member, benefit recipient, option beneficiary or designated recipient.
Survivor Benefit Application Processing
A caseworker will contact the benefit recipient to complete the application for survivor benefits by letter. The contact information of the caseworker will also be provided.
A copy of the death certificate must be sent to CalSTRS. Additional information or documentation may be requested.
Payment of Benefits
CalSTRS generally pays survivor benefits to beneficiaries or your estate within 45 days of receiving all of the requested information.
Payment may be delayed if documentation, such as the following, is missing or not received in a timely manner:
- Marriage certificate.
- Declaration of domestic partnership.
- Death certificate.
- Recipient Designation form with names and addresses of your recipient or recipients.
Any payments issued after your death are due back to CalSTRS and will be deducted from benefits paid to your beneficiaries if not returned.
If you have no surviving spouse or partner, eligible dependent children or dependent parents, any remaining Defined Benefit contributions and interest in your account will be paid to your one-time death benefit recipient. If you did not name a recipient, CalSTRS will make the payment to your estate.