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Member death benefit payment to increase

Pension Sense blog | June 13, 2024 | Barbara Zumwalt

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You're a master at making plans (think lesson plans and vacation plans), so when it comes to planning for your future, remember that your loved ones are eligible to receive survivor benefits.

One example is the one-time death benefit.

Starting July 1, 2024, this benefit, payable upon the death of a CalSTRS member, is increasing. The benefit is a one-time payment made to a named beneficiary or beneficiaries and is determined by the type of coverage a member has and whether the member’s death occurred before or after retirement.

This increase raises the payment following the death of a retired member to $7,093 from $6,903, an increase of $190. For a death prior to retirement, the payment has also increased, but the amount depends on your coverage. For Coverage A members, the death benefit also increased to $7,093; for Coverage B members, the payment increased to $28,372 (up from $27,612).

If you became a CalSTRS member after October 15, 1992, you're under Coverage B. If you were a CalSTRS member on or before that date, you remain under Coverage A unless you elected Coverage B before April 1993. Check your Retirement Progress Report in your myCalSTRS account to find out if you have Coverage A or Coverage B.

You can also sign in to myCalSTRS, or set up an account if you haven’t already, to update your beneficiaries.

Learn more about your benefits and how you can protect your family members by reading the CalSTRS Survivor Benefits: Remember Your Loved Ones publication.

This was the third increase of the benefit in the last five years and the first under a new policy approved by the Teachers’ Retirement Board in March 2024. The board considers a death benefit increase only if the Defined Benefit Program is on or ahead of schedule to reach full funding by 2046.

Increases are tied to California’s previous calendar-year inflation rate and capped at the long-term assumed inflation rate of 2.75%. California’s inflation rate in 2023 was 3.48%. When this rate exceeds 2.75%, the excess is rolled over for potential use in subsequent death benefit increases.

We’re here not only for you but also for those you love.

For information on how to reach CalSTRS, visit the contact us webpage.