Selecting a Retirement Option

SBCERA death benefits vary based on whether you are currently employed or retired. When you apply for retirement, you will be required to select a beneficiary and a benefit option that you feel best meets the needs of you and your beneficiary. This beneficiary will supersede any previous beneficiary designation. The option selected will determine the death benefits you will provide to your beneficiary after your death and your benefit amount in retirement. Some of the options reduce your monthly benefit in order to provide a lifetime monthly continuance for your beneficiary. Your options include:

Unmodified Option:

  • Pays you the highest possible lifetime retirement benefit.
  • 60% continuance to an eligible spouse/domestic partner or eligible child, or
  • If no eligible spouse/domestic partner or eligible child, a lump sum of any undistributed refundable contributions in your SBCERA retirement account.

Option 1:

  • Reduces your lifetime retirement benefit based on your life expectancy.
  • Any designated beneficiary or your estate would receive a lump sum of any undistributed refundable contributions in your SBCERA retirement account.
  • Only option that allows you to change your beneficiary at any time.

Option 2:

  • Reduces your lifetime retirement benefit based on your age and age of beneficiary.
  • 100% continuance of reduced benefit amount to your designated beneficiary.
  • Designated beneficiary must have an insurable interest in your life. Cannot be your estate.
  • Option is irrevocable. You cannot change your beneficiary after you retire, even if they die before you.
  • When your designated beneficiary dies, payments stop and no further benefits will be paid.

Option 3:

  • Reduces your lifetime retirement benefit based on your age and age of beneficiary.
  • 50% continuance of reduced benefit amount to your designated beneficiary.
  • Designated beneficiary must have an insurable interest in your life. Cannot be your estate.
  • Option is irrevocable. You cannot change your beneficiary after you retire, even if they die before you.
  • When your designated beneficiary dies, payments stop and no further benefits will be paid.

Option 4:

  • Reduces the lifetime retirement benefit for you and/or your beneficiary.
  • Custom continuance to designated beneficiary and/or multiple beneficiaries.
  • Option is irrevocable. You cannot change your beneficiary after you retire, even if they die before you.

What is an Eligible Beneficiary after Retirement?

  • Eligible Spouse or Domestic Partner: Someone you are married to or registered with for at least one year prior to your effective date of retirement. Someone can become an eligible spouse or domestic partner after retirement, if you are married or registered for at least two years prior to your death and they are at least 55 years old at the time of your death, and you chose the Unmodified Option at the time of retirement.
  • Eligible Child: For purposes of the options listed above, an eligible child is a child who is unmarried under the age of 18, or unmarried and a full-time student under the age of 22.
  • Somebody with an Insurable Interest: This is, essentially, any person who would be injured financially by your death. It is when you have a personal interest in the life of the other person and you can prove the individual is of personal value to you such as a spouse, parent, child or business partner.
  • Your Estate: You can designate your estate, but you cannot designate a trust.

Can I Change My Option?

You may change your selected option up until your first retirement benefit is issued. After that time, your option selection is irrevocable and cannot be changed. Please be advised that if you make a change and do not allow sufficient time for recalculation of your payments, your first benefit may be delayed.

Choosing My Option

You will not be required to make this choice until you apply for retirement. However, when planning your retirement it is important to consider what you and your loved ones will be left with if one of you dies in retirement. You can calculate what you and your beneficiary may expect to receive for many of the options above using our online benefit estimator. Each estimate will show you what you, the member, would receive and what your beneficiary, based on their age (if applicable), could expect to receive upon your death.