Survivor's Benefits

If you are participating in a Church Pension Fund defined benefit plan, you will have the option to choose a survivor benefit option at retirement. This is an important part of your retirement planning.

Lay Defined Benefit Plan

If you are married when you retire, your spouse is automatically eligible for a survivor benefit equal to 50% of your retirement benefit should you die first. You may, however, choose a different option for your spouse:

  • An enhanced benefit of 75%, or 100% of the amount you receive. Selecting one of these options will decrease the monthly benefit you receive during your lifetime.
  • A “certain and continuous“ benefit for 15 years, with your spouse’s consent. A monthly benefit will be paid for your lifetime, and a survivor benefit will be paid for the remainder of the 15-year period if you die before receiving 15 years of benefit payments.  If you live longer than 15 years, no survivor benefit will be paid.
  • A single life annuity, which will maximize your monthly benefit during your lifetime and eliminate the surviving spouse benefit, with your spouse’s consent.

If you are single when you retire, you have the choice to:

  • Receive a single life annuity, which will provide you with the maximum monthly benefit amount.
  • Provide a survivor’s benefit of 50%, 75%, or 100% of your own benefit to a second adult beneficiary of your choosing.
  • Receive a “certain and continuous“ benefit for 15 years, with a named beneficiary (with no age restriction). A monthly benefit will be paid for your lifetime, and a survivor benefit will be paid for the remainder of the 15-year period if you die before receiving 15 years of benefit payments.  If you live longer than 15 years, no survivor benefit will be paid.

Call Client Services at (866) 802-6333, or contact us to request an estimate of your pension benefit and benefit options for a spouse or other named beneficiary.

See Defined Benefit Plan for more information on the benefits provided by the Lay Defined Benefit Plan. You can also schedule an individual retirement discussion, and we can help you understand your options.


Lay Defined Contribution Plan, RSVP, 403(b), 401(k), and IRAs

Any balances remaining in these accounts when you die are distributed to the beneficiary or beneficiaries you have named for the accounts.

  • It’s important that you keep your beneficiary designations up to date to ensure that your balance is distributed according to your wishes.
  • If the beneficiary is your spouse, your spouse can assume the account as his or her own.
  • If the beneficiary is not a spouse, there are rules as to how the assets must be withdrawn.

For more information, go to: www.irs.gov.


Social Security Survivor Benefits

It is important to understand Social Security’s retirement survivor benefits.

  • If you die before your spouse (and you both are drawing Social Security), your spouse will receive the higher of his or her benefit or your benefit. The second, smaller benefit will no longer be paid.
  • If you have a minor child, there may be a child’s benefit paid to your child.
  • For additional information on survivor benefits, go to www.socialsecurity.gov.

TIP: When making retirement plans and spousal options choices, don’t forget to consider what your surviving spouse or partner will need once you pass away.

The Lay Defined Benefit Plan is a qualified plan under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, but as a church plan, it is not subject to ERISA. The plan's financial condition is disclosed in the Church Pension Group Annual Report.

The Church Pension Fund, as sponsor of this plan, continues to monitor the funding status closely. Like many defined benefit plans, the Lay Defined Benefit Plan currently is not fully funded. The Church Pension Fund retains the right to amend, terminate or modify the terms of the Lay Defined Benefit Plan, including the employer assessment rate, without notice and for any reason.

Pensions Disclaimer

Unless otherwise noted, websites referenced herein that are outside the www.cpg.org domain are not associated with The Church Pension Fund and its affiliates (collectively, the Church Pension Group) and the Church Pension Group is not responsible for the content of any such websites.