A beneficiary is the person the member has named in writing to
receive such benefits provided by SBCERA upon the member’s death.
The Primary Beneficiary is the first-named person or persons who
would receive these benefits from SBCERA. The Alternate
Beneficiary is the person or persons who would receive these
benefits from SBCERA if there are no living primary beneficiaries
on the date of the member’s death.
If a member dies before retirement, the appropriate death benefit
is paid to the beneficiary or beneficiaries the member designated
when the member joined SBCERA or, subsequently, on an
SBCERA Beneficiary Designation/Change form.
A surviving spouse or minor children, even if not the named
beneficiary, may have certain rights superseding the rights of
the named beneficiary. If the member does not leave a surviving
spouse when the member dies but does leave surviving unmarried
children under the age of 18, a legally-appointed guardian of the
children shall make an election for all death benefits. The court
must appoint a legal guardian over the estate of the minor
children. If a biological parent exists, that parent still must
be appointed the guardian of the estate of the minor children.
If a member has not designated a beneficiary, or if the
beneficiary is no longer living, the benefit will be paid to the
member’s estate. Please be aware that a member cannot designate a
trust or a charity as a beneficiary to receive SBCERA death
and/or survivor benefits.
If the member was a deferred
vested member at the time of death, the designated
beneficiary is only eligible for a lump-sum refund/rollover of
the refundable contributions and interest. If the member was
a deferred reciprocal
member, the benefit options available will be coordinated
between SBCERA and the reciprocal system. A person who has
terminated employment and taken a refund of accumulated
contributions is considered a terminated member. As such, said
person has ceased to be a member of SBCERA’s retirement plan and
no death benefits will be payable to the beneficiary.
When the member applies for retirement, the member will designate
a beneficiary. This will supersede any previous beneficiary
The post-retirement death benefits depend on which payment option
the member chooses and who is designated as the beneficiary for a
continuance of the retirement benefit:
The eligible spouse/domestic partner will receive a lifetime
monthly continuance of 60% of the benefit the member was
receiving (or 100%, if the member retired with a
service-connected disability). When the spouse/domestic partner
dies, payments will stop and no further benefits will be paid.
For a spouse/domestic partner to be eligible, the marriage or
registered domestic partnership date must be at least one year
before the date of retirement (or, for a service-connected
disability retirement, one day before the date of retirement).
Unmarried minor children may receive a monthly continuance
that is 60% of the benefit the member was receiving, divided
among them (100% if the member retired for a service-connected
Children will remain eligible until they marry or reach age
18 (or age 22 if they remain unmarried and enrolled as full-time
students in an accredited school). When they cease to be
eligible, payments will stop and no further benefits will be
The beneficiary will receive 50% of the benefit the member
was receiving for the beneficiary’s lifetime. When the
beneficiary dies, payments will stop and no further benefits will
Regardless of which payment option is selected, a lump-sum burial
allowance of $1,000 will be paid to the beneficiary or estate. If
the member was a retiree with reciprocity, only one such benefit
is payable, and it will be paid by the retirement system the
member was with last as an active member. Check with the
reciprocal system to verify the lump-sum burial allowance amount
that it will pay.