Does PERF offer disability and/or survivor benefits?
You may qualify for a disability benefit if you were working in a PERF-covered position, are unable to work, and have a Social Security Award letter for your disability. If you die while an active member, your spouse and/or dependents may be eligible for survivor benefits.
You are eligible to apply for disability benefits if:
- You have five or more years of creditable service under PERF before the termination of salary or employer provided income protection benefits, or leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or worker’s compensation benefits;
- You are determined by the Social Security Administration to be disabled; and,
- You are receiving salary, or employer provided income protection benefits, or are on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as of the onset date established by the Social Security Administration.
When applying for benefits, you must provide PERF with your Social Security Award Letter for disability. To each of the qualified applicants, PERF will send an application for disability benefits. The packet will contain the following materials:
- Estimate of Benefits
- Application for Disability Benefits (State Form 3476).
- Federal Tax Withholding Form (W‑4P).
- Indiana Tax Withholding Form (WH‑4P).
- Authorization for Deposit of Recurring Payment (State Form 39175).
Employees will be entitled to receive PERF disability benefits for as long as they continue to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. According to Indiana law, the employee's disability benefits will begin on the first day of the month following the date of disability as determined by the Social Security Administration.
Indiana law states that for most members the disability benefit cannot be less than $100 per month unless the employee elects to receive either a lump sum payment of the Annuity Savings Account or chooses an option other than option number 10 or 20, which are explained in the following section titled Defined Benefit Payment Options.
However, for certain PERF members receiving disability benefits, the minimum monthly benefit amount has been increased to $180.
Survivor Benefits: Before Retirement
If you die while in active service, your surviving spouse or surviving dependent(s) may be entitled to survivor benefits if:
- you have been married for at least two years, and
- you have at least 10 or more years of creditable service as a member of the General Assembly, or if
- you have at least 10 years of service in any other position, but not more than 14 years of service, and you are at least age 65, or if
- you have at least 15 years of service in any other position and you are less than age 65.
Survivor benefits are reduced by any disability benefits that may have been paid to you.
A surviving spouse or surviving dependent may be entitled to survivor benefits if you die out of service while eligible to receive retirement benefits but before applying for them.
If you meet the conditions described above, your spouse qualifies for a monthly survivor benefit for life. If there is no surviving two-year spouse, the survivor benefit is divided between all surviving dependents who are less than 18 years of age (or older if the dependent(s) are permanently disabled). Survivor benefits are reduced by any disability benefits that may have been paid to you. If there is neither a surviving two-year spouse nor surviving dependents, then no survivor benefit may be paid.
This survivor benefit was created by the Indiana Legislature for the benefit of survivors of long-term PERF members. This benefit is separate and distinct from any benefit created by the member's Annuity Savings Account. Whether or not there is a survivor benefit due, upon the death of the member, the Annuity Savings Account will be distributed to the beneficiary or beneficiaries designated by the member on their Membership Record or their most recent Change of Beneficiary form. In this case, the designated beneficiary or beneficiaries can receive the Annuity Savings Account and the survivor benefit if they also happen to be the surviving spouse/dependent.
A surviving spouse/dependent who also is the designated beneficiary of the member's Annuity Savings Account is entitled to receive that Annuity Savings Account.
|If a member dies before retirement, either the employer or the deceased member's family must send a copy of the death certificate to PERF. PERF will confirm the beneficiary of record and assist that beneficiary with the claim filing procedure.|
Survivor Benefits: After Retirement
If a retired member dies, the designated beneficiary may be entitled to receive benefits, based upon the retirement option selected by that member.