Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

If I make a preretirement election and choose the 100% Beneficiary Option and die before I retire, what amount does my spouse receive?

When you are eligible to retire, you may make a preretirement election of an option to provide a monthly lifetime income for another person or persons if you should die before retirement.

When you elect an option, your monthly retirement benefit will be reduced from the Member-Only Benefit. The percentage of the reduction is based on the option you elect, your age and your beneficiary’s age at the time you elect an option.

If you make a preretirement election of an option, such as the 100% Beneficiary Option, and die before retirement, your beneficiary will receive a lifetime monthly benefit based on the reduced benefit that would have been paid if you had retired on the date of your death.  The 100% Beneficiary Option provides your option beneficiary with 100 percent of the amount you would have been paid if you had retired as of the date of your death.

If you are thinking of making a preretirement election of an option, canceling your preretirement election of an option, electing a different option or changing your option beneficiary, meet with a CalSTRS benefits counselor to discuss the possible effects these actions would have on your retirement benefit.

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