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Survivor Benefits

Beneficiary Designation at Retirement

At the time of retirement, the member may name only one person, his or her estate, or a trust as beneficiary of the monthly retirement allowance. If the beneficiary dies or divorces the retired member, state law provides that the member’s estate becomes the beneficiary. An estate or trust cannot be eligible for a lifetime payment upon death of a retired member. 

Account Beneficiary Changes After Retirement

After the first day of the month in which a retired member receives their first retirement payment, a retired member may not change their payment option or account beneficiary designation except in limited circumstances as outlined in Kentucky Revised Statutes 61.542.

A retired member receiving a monthly retirement allowance under the Basic, Live with 10 Years Certain, Life with 15 Years Certain, Life with 20 Years Certain, and Social Security Adjustment Option without Survivor Benefits may elect to change their account beneficiary at any time by completing Form 6036, Beneficiary Designation Change. Retired members should log into their Self Service account to initiate the process to change their beneficiary by completing the Form 6036 online. Making this beneficiary change does not change the payment option selected at retirement.

A retired member receiving a monthly retirement allowance who marries or remarries after retiring may make a one-time election within 120 days of marriage or remarriage to provide monthly survivorship benefits to his/her new spouse by designating the new spouse as a beneficiary. A Form 6035, Beneficiary and Payment Option Change, must be filed along with the spouse's date of birth verification and a copy of the marriage certificate, to initiate this change. Acceptable forms of date-of-birth verification include a copy of any of the following: birth certificate, state-issued driver's license, U.S. Passport, military ID or discharge, or Immigration and Naturalization records. Retired members should log into their Self Service account to initiate the process to designate a new spouse as a beneficiary and elect to change payment option.

The retirement office will then provide a Form 6050, Estimated Retirement Allowance, for the retired member to complete and return. All forms must be received in the retirement office by the end of the month to be effective with the following month's retirement payment; changes to a retired member's retirement payment option will not be retroactive. This change is irrevocable.

Any new survivorship payment option shall be actuarially equivalent to the monthly payment option the member was receiving prior to the change and shall not impact any other benefits otherwise payable to an alternate payee under a valid Qualified Domestic Relations Order already on file at the retirement office.

Death after Retirement

You should inform your family or the person you have named to be responsible for your estate of the need to immediately inform the retirement office of your death. Your estate is liable for any monthly payments paid after your death. The member/recipient or the member’s/recipient’s estate is entitled to the payment that is sent during the month in which death occurs.

Reporting a Death

To report a death to KPPA, please call KPPA at (502) 696-8800 or toll-free at 1-800-928-4646 and provide
the following information:

  • Member name
  • Member ID or Social Security Number
  • Date of death
  • Name of person notifying KPPA of member's death
  • Relationship of notifying party
  • Address and phone number of notifying party

Benefits Provided

Upon notification of a retired member’s death, KPPA will notify the individual named as beneficiary regarding his or her status as beneficiary. The beneficiary must complete and file the proper Forms along with a death certificate listing the cause of the member’s death.

The retired member’s estate is entitled to the member’s retirement payment for the month of the member’s death. If the retired member selected a payment option without survivorship benefits and dies prior to recovering all the member contributions and interest which had accumulated in his or her retirement account, the beneficiary would receive the remaining account balance.

If the retired member selected a Survivorship Option at the time of retirement, the beneficiary will receive monthly benefits beginning in the month following the member’s death. Monthly benefits will not continue if the member’s estate has become the beneficiary because the beneficiary has died or divorced the member. 

What is required to collect a member's benefits after death?

The beneficiary or estate is required to submit a death certificate for the member listing the cause of death. If death occurred after the effective retirement date, the former employer is not required to submit any information. An audit of the deceased member’s account will be performed once the death is reported to KPPA. The beneficiary of the account will be notified by mail. Please note that a completed beneficiary designation must be on file with KPPA in Frankfort prior to the member’s death to be valid. A copy received after the member’s death is not acceptable.

A beneficiary's monthly payment must be deposited directly to a financial institution; as a result, the beneficiary must complete Form 6130, Authorization for Deposit of Retirement Benefit, to have the payment deposited. If the beneficiary does not have an account with a financial institution or the financial institution does not participate in the Automated Clearing House (ACH), the beneficiary must complete a Form 6135, Request for Payment by Check. The retirement benefit will not be processed until the appropriate Forms are filed with KPPA.

Death of a Beneficiary

Please advise the pensions authority office upon the death of the beneficiary named for your monthly benefits or for your $5,000 death benefit. You may name a new beneficiary for the $5,000 death benefit at any time after retirement by completing a new Form 6030, Death Benefit Designation. Also, the amount of your benefit may change if you selected the Pop-Up option at the time of retirement. Information regarding changing the beneficiary of your monthly benefit are outlined in the "Account Beneficiary Changes After Retirement" section above.

$5,000 Death Benefit

A retired member’s beneficiary may be eligible for a death benefit. If a retired member is receiving a monthly benefit based on at least 48 months of service credit, KPPA will pay a $5,000 death benefit payment to the beneficiary designated by the member specifically for this benefit. A retiree may name one person, his or her estate, a trust, or a funeral home as beneficiary for this benefit. The beneficiary or administrator of the member’s estate must submit proper documentation of the date of death and the qualifications of the administrator (if applicable). Members with multiple accounts are entitled to only one death benefit.

The $5,000 death benefit is subject to federal income tax, but may be eligible for a direct rollover to avoid tax withholding. If a person is named beneficiary of the death benefit, that person is responsible for federal tax on the death benefit and a mandatory 20% will be withheld for federal taxes unless the death benefit is rolled over to a qualifying plan such as an IRA or an eligible employer plan that accepts rollovers. A person beneficiary also has the option to assign the death benefit to a funeral home, however, the person, not the funeral home, is still responsible for federal taxes and subject to the 20% withholding. 

Any overpayments on the member’s account will be withheld from the $5000 death benefit if they are not paid in full prior to this benefit being processed.

If a funeral home is directly named as beneficiary of the death benefit by the retiree, the funeral home is responsible for the federal taxes and has the option to withhold either 10% or have no taxes withheld.  

The retiree may designate a new beneficiary of the $5,000 death benefit at any time by completing a new Form 6030, Death Benefit Designation. To be effective, the death benefit beneficiary Form must be completed by the retiree and filed at the retirement office prior to the retiree’s death.

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