Protecting your Spouse’s Right to Your Pension In The Event of Your Death While Employed

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If you were to die ‘in-service’ (while still an active employee) your spouse/ beneficiary is entitled to your Life Insurance plus what you have contributed to the Pension fund.  Like most TPAF members, you are probably covered with both non-contributory life insurance (150% of your salary) and contributory life insurance (200%of your salary) for a total coverage of three and a half times your salary.

However, if you have a pension application on file and were to die ‘in-service’ your spouse/ beneficiary would have the  221 filing option  – either  taking the life insurance and your contributions, or take your pension and the reduced life insurance benefit that is part of your retirement benefit on the date of the retirement on your submitted application.

You are able to retire if  you have 25/more years in the pension system, OR are age 60 – therefore, you may want to consider filing an application to provide your pension ‘beneficiary’ the option.

  • Once you have 25 years of service in the TPAF, as a Tier 1 member, you are able to retire early. Your pension allotment is reduced 3%/year for each year your age is under 55. There is no early retirement penalty between the ages of 55 and 60.
  • As a Tier 1 member of the pension system, Your Service Retirement age is age 60, which means you can retire regardless of the number of years you have in the pension system.

Filing an application with the Division of Pensions does not mean you are actually retiring – to formally retire you must submit a letter of retirement to your local school board and they must formally take action accepting your resignation.  It is recommended that, if you are filing an application to protect your beneficiary’s options toward your pension, you let your local payroll officer know what you are doing.

You can file an application up to one year ahead of your retirement date (July 2, 2016 for July 1, 2017).  Once your application is filed, you can regularly go into your application and move the date forward until you determine that you are ready to retire. {To do this you will need to cancel your application and, after a 24 hour wait, file again with the new date}. You will receive an email from the Division like the one below.

This email is to confirm that your retirement application has been cancelled. If you did not request this cancellation, you will receive additional notification from the Division of Pensions and Benefits, Retirement Bureau, with specific information pertaining to the cancellation. If you have requested to cancel your retirement application, please retain this email for your records. This will be the only confirmation you will receive. If you have cancelled your retirement in order to amend your retirement date, you will be able to file a new application the next business day. Your employer will also be notified of the cancellation

NJPSA is prepared to provide guidance to you if you would like to exercise this option for protecting your beneficiary.  You can call to make an appointment or, you may wish to invite us in to meet with members of your association (local or county) to explain the process.  Contact Bob Murphy by phone or email: 609-860-1200  or