145.45 Beneficiary may substitute other benefits.

Except as provided in division (C)(1) of this section, in lieu of accepting the payment of the accumulated account of a member who dies before service retirement, a beneficiary, as determined in this section or section 145.43 of the Revised Code, may elect to forfeit the accumulated contributions and to substitute certain other benefits under division (A) or (B) of this section.

(A)

(1) If a deceased member was eligible for a service retirement benefit as provided in section 145.33 , 145.331 , or 145.332 of the Revised Code, a surviving spouse or other sole dependent beneficiary may elect to receive a monthly benefit computed as the joint-survivor benefit designated as "plan A" in section 145.46 of the Revised Code, which the member would have received had the member retired on the last day of the month of death and had the member at that time selected such joint-survivor plan. Payment shall begin with the month subsequent to the member's death, except that a surviving spouse who is less than sixty-five years old may defer receipt of such benefit. Upon receipt, the benefit shall be calculated based upon the spouse's age at the time of first payment, and shall accrue regular interest during the time of deferral.

(2) Beginning on a date selected by the public employees retirement board, which shall be not later than July 1, 2004, a surviving spouse or other sole dependent beneficiary may elect, in lieu of a monthly payment under division (A)(1) of this section, a plan of payment consisting of both of the following:

(a) A lump sum in an amount the surviving spouse or other sole dependent beneficiary designates that constitutes a portion of the allowance that would be payable under division (A)(1) of this section;

(b) The remainder of that allowance in monthly payments.

The total amount paid as a lump sum and a monthly benefit shall be the actuarial equivalent of the amount that would have been paid had the lump sum not been selected.

The lump sum amount designated by the surviving spouse or other sole dependent beneficiary under division (A)(2)(a) of this section shall be not less than six times and not more than thirty-six times the monthly amount that would be payable to the surviving spouse or other sole dependent beneficiary under division (A)(1) of this section and shall not result in a monthly payment that is less than fifty per cent of that monthly amount.

(B) If a deceased member had, except as provided in division (B)(7) of this section, at least one and one-half years of contributing service credit, with, except as provided in division (B)(7) of this section, at least one-quarter year of contributing service credit within the two and one-half years prior to the date of death, or was receiving at the time of death a disability benefit as provided in section 145.36 , 145.361 , or 145.37 of the Revised Code, qualified survivors who elect to receive monthly benefits shall receive the greater of the benefits provided in division (B)(1)(a) or (b) and (4) of this section as allocated in accordance with division (B)(5) of this section.

(1)(a) Number

Or

of Qualified

Monthly

survivors

Annual Benefit as a Per

Benefit

affecting

Cent of Decedent's Final

shall not be

the benefit

Average Salary

less than

1

25%

$250

2

40

400

3

50

500

4

55

500

5 or more

60

500

(b) Years of

Annual Benefit as a Per Cent

Service

of Member's Final Average

Salary

20

29%

21

33

22

37

23

41

24

45

25

48

26

51

27

54

28

57

29 or more

60

(2) Benefits shall begin as qualified survivors meet eligibility requirements as follows:

(a) A qualified spouse is the surviving spouse of the deceased member, who is age sixty-two, or regardless of age meets one of the following qualifications:

(i) Except as provided in division (B)(7) of this section, the deceased member had ten or more years of Ohio service credit.

(ii) The spouse is caring for a qualified child.

(iii) The spouse is adjudged physically or mentally incompetent.

A spouse of a member who died prior to August 27, 1970, whose eligibility was determined at the member's death, and who is physically or mentally incompetent on or after August 20, 1976, shall be paid the monthly benefit which that person would otherwise receive when qualified by age.

(b) A qualified child is any child of the deceased member who has never been married and to whom one of the following applies:

(i) Is under age eighteen, or under age twenty-two if the child is attending an institution of learning or training pursuant to a program designed to complete in each school year the equivalent of at least two-thirds of the full-time curriculum requirements of such institution and as further determined by board policy;

(ii) Regardless of age, is adjudged physically or mentally incompetent at the time of the member's death.

(c) A qualified parent is a dependent parent aged sixty-five or older or regardless of age if physically or mentally incompetent, a dependent parent whose eligibility was determined by the member's death prior to August 20, 1976, and who is physically or mentally incompetent on or after August 20, 1976, shall be paid the monthly benefit for which that person would otherwise qualify.

(3) "Physically or mentally incompetent" as used in this section may be determined by a court of jurisdiction, or by a physician appointed by the retirement board. Incapability of making a living because of a physically or mentally disabling condition shall meet the qualifications of this division.

(4) Benefits to a qualified survivor shall terminate upon ceasing to meet eligibility requirements as provided in this division, a first marriage, abandonment, adoption, or during active military service. Benefits to a deceased member's surviving spouse that were terminated under a former version of this section that required termination due to remarriage and were not resumed prior to September 16, 1998, shall resume on the first day of the month immediately following receipt by the board of an application on a form provided by the board.

Upon the death of any subsequent spouse who was a member of the public employees retirement system, state teachers retirement system, or school employees retirement system, the surviving spouse of such member may elect to continue receiving benefits under this division, or to receive survivor's benefits, based upon the subsequent spouse's membership in one or more of the systems, for which such surviving spouse is eligible under this section or section 3307.66 or 3309.45 of the Revised Code. If the surviving spouse elects to continue receiving benefits under this division, such election shall not preclude the payment of benefits under this division to any other qualified survivor.

Benefits shall begin or resume on the first day of the month following the attainment of eligibility and shall terminate on the first day of the month following loss of eligibility.

(5)

(a) If a benefit is payable under division (B)(1)(a) of this section, benefits to a qualified spouse shall be paid in the amount determined for the first qualifying survivor in division (B)(1)(a) of this section. All other qualifying survivors shall share equally in the benefit or remaining portion thereof.

(b) All qualifying survivors shall share equally in a benefit payable under division (B)(1)(b) of this section, except that if there is a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse shall receive not less than the amount determined for the first qualifying survivor in division (B)(1)(a) of this section.

(6) The beneficiary of a member who is also a member of the state teachers retirement system or of the school employees retirement system, must forfeit the member's accumulated contributions in those systems and in the public employees retirement system, if the beneficiary takes a survivor benefit. Such benefit shall be exclusively governed by section 145.37 of the Revised Code.

(7) The following restrictions do not apply if the deceased member was contributing toward benefits under section 145.332 of the Revised Code at the time of death:

(a) That the deceased member have had at least one and one-half years of contributing service credit, with at least one-quarter year of contributing service within the two and one-half years prior to the date of death;

(b) If the deceased member was killed in the line of duty, that the deceased member have had ten or more years of Ohio service credit as described in division (B)(2)(a)(i) of this section.

For the purposes of division (B)(7)(b) of this section, "killed in the line of duty," means either that death occurred in the line of duty or that death occurred as a result of injury sustained in the line of duty.

(C)

(1) Regardless of whether the member is survived by a spouse or designated beneficiary, if the public employees retirement system receives notice that a deceased member described in division (A) or (B) of this section has one or more qualified children, all persons who are qualified survivors under division (B) of this section shall receive monthly benefits as provided in division (B) of this section.

If, after determining the monthly benefits to be paid under division (B) of this section, the system receives notice that there is a qualified survivor who was not considered when the determination was made, the system shall, notwithstanding section 145.561 of the Revised Code, recalculate the monthly benefits with that qualified survivor included, even if the benefits to qualified survivors already receiving benefits are reduced as a result. The benefits shall be calculated as if the qualified survivor who is the subject of the notice became eligible on the date the notice was received and shall be paid to qualified survivors effective on the first day of the first month following the system's receipt of the notice.

If the retirement system did not receive notice that a deceased member has one or more qualified children prior to making payment under section 145.43 of the Revised Code to a beneficiary as determined by the retirement system, the payment is a full discharge and release of the system from any future claims under this section or section 145.43 of the Revised Code.

(2) If benefits under division (C)(1) of this section to all persons, or to all persons other than a surviving spouse or other sole beneficiary, terminate, there are no children under the age of twenty-two years, and the surviving spouse or beneficiary qualifies for benefits under division (A) of this section, the surviving spouse or beneficiary may elect to receive benefits under division (A) of this section. The benefits shall be effective on the first day of the month immediately following the termination.

(D) The final average salary used in the calculation of a benefit payable pursuant to division (A) or (B) of this section to a survivor or beneficiary of a disability benefit recipient shall be adjusted for each year between the disability benefit's effective date and the recipient's date of death by the lesser of three per cent or the actual average percentage increase in the consumer price index prepared by the United States bureau of labor statistics (U.S. city average for urban wage earners and clerical workers: "all items 1982-84=100").

(E) If the survivor benefits due and paid under this section are in a total amount less than the member's accumulated account that was transferred from the public employees' savings fund to the survivors' benefit fund, then the difference between the total amount of the benefits paid shall be paid to the beneficiary under section 145.43 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 145.45

History. Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.148, SB 343, §1, eff. 1/7/2013.

Effective Date: 10-01-2002; 04-06-2007