ERIC Number: ED294126
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Retirement Equity Act, Survivor Benefits Protections, and Public Employee Retirement Systems.
Liebig, Phoebe S.
The Retirement Equity Act (REA) sets out requirements for joint and survivor annuity coverage for married individuals who participate in federally regulated retirement plans. REA-mandated provisions do not apply to state and local government retirement systems. Because state and local government employees constitute a significant part of the work force, it is important to determine the extent to which their retirement plans provide survivor benefit protections. A survey was conducted of all state administered retirement systems (SARS), covering teachers, other school employees, or state and local government employees. Only Maine did not provide information. Data from 75 SARS were analyzed for joint and survivor benefits, spousal rights, types of beneficiaries, special circumstances affecting benefit receipt, special death benefits, and life insurance and health benefits. The results revealed that only six SARS adhered to the REA requirement that a joint and survivor benefit be provided automatically to the spouse, unless specifically waived; 17 SARS specified at least a 1-year marriage requirement for receipt of a joint and survivor option; 6 SARS required a minimum age as eligibility for receipt of a spousal benefit; 17 SARS withdrew the joint and survivor benefit if the surviving spouse remarried; and 8 SARS specified protections for divorced spouses. State retirement systems on the leading edge in providing and protecting broad survivor benefit packages should be emulated by other states. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (40th, Washington, DC, November 18-22, 1987).