Death of an Active Member

Reporting a Death

To report a death, please call SJCERA and speak with a retiree counselor. The counselor will ask for your name, and/or the estate executor's name, the date of death, and the Social Security Number of the deceased. After SJCERA has this information, we will send a letter describing the documents that are required to process the survivor benefit.

Generally, you will need to submit:

  • An original death certificate
  • A copy of a marriage or domestic partner certificate (if the retiree was married or in a state registered domestic partnership)
  • A copy of the spouse or domestic partner's birth certificate
  • A copy of the spouse or domestic partner's Social Security number

Death and survivor benefits depend on several factors. If a member dies prior to retirement, death benefits are determined based on:

  • Whether the member was actively employed or a deferred member
  • Whether the death was related to the member’s service
  • Whether the member was vested
  • The relationship of the benefit recipient to the member (eligible survivor or named beneficiary)

To qualify as an eligible survivor in cases involving the death of an active member, a spouse or domestic partner must have been married to or in a duly registered domestic partnership with the member prior to the member’s death. No minimum length of marriage or domestic partnership requirement applies. Additional information for those surviving the death of an SJCERA member is available in our Survivorship Booklet.