Survivor benefits

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Learn more about the AFTRA Retirement Plan with the following Frequently Asked Questions and answers.

Survivor benefits

  • Q. If I am fully vested in my pension and I die before I retire, what happens to my pension benefits?

    A. Your surviving spouse or beneficiary will receive your pension as survivor benefits. The available payment options depend on several factors, including:

    •   Vesting status at the time of death;
    •   Marital status at the time of death; and
    •   Earnings credited to your account. 

    To determine what the pre-retirement survivor benefit would be in your case, contact Participant Services at (800) 562-4690 for a pension analysis.
  • Q. What if I die after I start taking my pension? What happens to my benefits?

    A. If you die after you begin receiving your pension, the amount of benefits due after your death would depend on what option you selected when you began your pension. Some options such as the Qualified Joint & Survivor Annuity require that the payments will continue to your spouse. Other options guarantee five years of benefits, so that if death occurs before 60 pension payments have been made, monthly benefits are paid to a beneficiary until a total of 60 payments have been made. If there are benefits due, the AFTRA Retirement Fund pays the beneficiary that you designated when you selected the annuity option.   
  • Q. My spouse was a member of the union who recently died, and I am the beneficiary. What steps do I need to take to collect my spouse’s AFTRA Retirement Fund pension?

    A. Please send the AFTRA Retirement Fund a copy of the death certificate and a cover letter stating your relationship to the deceased. AFTRA Retirement Fund records will be reviewed to determine the designated beneficiary. A survivor benefit letter will be mailed to you noting whether you are the designated beneficiary, and the benefits you are eligible for, if applicable.