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Coverage A or B—When you die after retirement

One-time death benefit

If you die after retirement, the one-time death benefit is the same under both Coverage A and Coverage B.

CalSTRS pays a one-time death benefit payment of $6,903 to your named recipient or recipients if you’re a retired member. The amount of the payment may be adjusted periodically by the Teachers’ Retirement Board.

If more than one recipient is named, the payment is divided equally, unless you specified other percentages of distribution.

If you did not name a one-time death benefit recipient, CalSTRS will make the payment to your estate.

Defined Benefit Supplement distribution

If you die after retirement, depending on your Defined Benefit Supplement annuity option, your DBS balance may be distributed to your option beneficiary or to the recipient or recipients named on your Recipient Designation form.

Monthly benefit with an option

Once you have retired, no monthly benefit is payable to your survivors unless you elected an option beneficiary for your retirement benefit.

If you elected an option, your option beneficiary will receive the monthly benefit payable under the particular option you elected. If you didn’t elect an option, you would have been receiving a Member-Only monthly benefit.

Monthly benefit without an option

If you elected the Member-Only Benefit for your Defined Benefit pension, you will receive it for your lifetime—no continuing monthly benefit will be payable to another person or beneficiary after your death.

However, your one-time death benefit recipient will receive the monthly retirement benefit that accrued but was not paid during the month of your death, plus any remaining contributions and interest in your Defined Benefit account, less benefit payments already made to you.

Member death after retirement example

Sanjay had been retired for 10 years at the time of his death on the 15th of the month. His monthly benefit was $950. He had $35,000 in contributions and interest when he retired and received $115,000 in retirement benefits, so there was no remaining balance to distribute to his beneficiaries.

The amount payable to Sanjay’s recipient is calculated as follows:

  • Accrued monthly benefit during the month of death (½ month x $950): $475
  • Current one-time death benefit: $6,903
  • Total payable ($6,903 + $475): $7,378​​​​​​​