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Death in Service

What Is a Death-in-Service Benefit?

A death-in-service benefit is a lump-sum payment of the balance in a VRS member’s contribution account, if any, to a named beneficiary. If the named beneficiary is the member’s spouse, a natural or legally adopted minor child or a parent, he or she may elect a lump-sum payment or a monthly benefit. The death-in-service benefit is in addition to any other benefits the beneficiary may have.

Types of the death-in-service benefit:

Encourage VRS members to keep their beneficiary form(s) up to date. When an employee asks you about making changes to their health insurance or other benefits, that's a good time to ask them to consider their beneficiary designations. For more information, see Naming a Beneficiary.

In the Event of a Member’s Death

If a VRS member dies while in service, you will likely assist in coordinating any benefits that may be due. In addition to the death-in-service benefit, there are a number of things you can do to assist the beneficiary:

  • Life Insurance: Read a summary about how to handle Life Insurance.

  • Line of Duty Benefits: If applicable, let the beneficiary know that they may be eligible for Line of Duty benefits.

  • Survivor Option: At retirement, the member may have chosen to have a monthly benefit continue to a survivor upon the member’s death. You can refer a survivor to Benefit Payout Options.

  • Savings Plans: If the member participated in employer-sponsored, tax-deferred savings plans, such as 403(b), 457 or 401(k) plans, you can instruct the beneficiary to contact the plan record keeper.

  • Social Security: You can advise the beneficiary to contact the Social Security Administration to determine if Social Security death benefits are payable.

  • A Helpful Guide: You can provide the member’s beneficiary with the Losing a Loved One: Guide for Families brochure.

Get Support

Have questions about VRS benefits? Contact the Employer Support Team.

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