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Warning! Many SERS members have recently received unsolicited, potentially misleading emails from companies not affiliated with SERS offering retirement counseling. These emails may appear to come from SERS or appear to represent SERS, they do not. SERS encourages members to be cautious of email solicitations and skeptical of any attempts by outside firms to request personal or financial information. SERS will NEVER contact you asking for personal information. If you are within a year of retirement and need an appointment, you can request an appointment by emailing or by calling (217) 785-7444.

GARS Tier 2 Death Benefits Information

Your eligible survivors, beneficiaries, or estate may qualify for death benefits.

The survivor benefit is reduced by any amounts received under the Workers’ Compensation Act or Occupational Diseases Act.

Death Before Retirement

If you die while in active service and have at least two years of service credit, your eligible survivors will qualify for the survivors’ benefit.

If you die after termination of service, but before receiving a retirement annuity, you must have at least four years of service credit for your survivors to qualify for the survivor's benefit.

If you die while in active service with no qualified survivors, your named beneficiary or estate will receive all your GARS contributions.

Death After Retirement

If you die with no qualified survivors while receiving retirement benefits, your named beneficiary or estate will receive any remaining contributions, less any benefits paid.

Your Surviving Spouse

If you are survived by your spouse age 50 or over, and you were married for at least one year prior to your death, (s)he will receive a survivor’s benefit following your death.

A surviving spouse under age 50 can receive a survivor’s benefit if (s)he supports your unmarried children under age 18 (22 if full-time student), or a disabled child over age 18. A spouse’s own children who meet eligibility requirements may also qualify a spouse to receive survivor benefits prior to age 50. As children cease to be eligible, the annuity to the surviving spouse or other eligible children will be recalculated, if necessary. This benefit is payable until the last child reaches age 18 (22 if full-time student), marries, dies or is no longer disabled.

At that point, the benefit is suspended until (s)he reaches age 50. Remarriage is permitted without loss of benefits.

Your Surviving Children

If only eligible children survive the deceased participant, they may qualify for a monthly survivor’s benefit.

Annual Survivor Increase

The survivor benefit is increased 3% or the annual unadjusted percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index-U whichever is less, each January 1 following the first full year of receiving this benefit. If the deceased member was an annuitant, the increase is effective on January 1 after the benefit began. The increase is compounded based on the previous year's survivor benefit.

Monthly Survivor Benefit

If the participant contributed to the survivors’ annuity provision, an eligible surviving spouse and/or eligible children may be entitled to a survivor benefit equal to 66 2/3% of the deceased participant’s earned retirement annuity, or 66 2/3% of the annuity amount the annuitant was entitled to. The maximum total survivor benefit cannot exceed 66 2/3% of the earned retirement annuity and is shared equally among the eligible survivors.