Death of Retired Employee

What to Do…….Upon the death of an Employee/Retiree     

[Revised July 2, 2019]   pg.1

Many of us are not prepared to handle the necessary arrangements when a family member or loved one passes.   However, the Benefits Office 901-636-6800 is ready and available to assist families whose loved one was a City employee or retiree.   Take the following steps to ease the benefits process during such a difficult time:

Establish Eligibility/Beneficiary:

This important step determines who is eligible to receive an employee or retiree’s benefits when he or she dies.  An employee or retiree’s legal spouse is eligible.  There is no longer a time limit for a spouse to be eligible for a retiree’s pension.  The eligible spouse is defined as a lawful spouse of a participant, active or retired, as determined by a legally recognized certificate of marriage.  Common-law marriage shall not be recognized as valid, regardless of the fact that such marriage may be considered lawful in a state or jurisdiction where the couple lives or formerly lived. A beneficiary must be named to receive benefits on Life insurance.  Please remember to keep beneficiary forms current, failure to do so can cause undue stress and work on your family during a very difficult time and deny them the survivor funds.  

If there is no legal spouse:

Then a child can benefit, as of any date, if they are the legitimate, legally adopted, or legally recognized son or daughter of a participant who has not reached the age of eighteen (18) and has a legal guardian; or is disabled as defined by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. Regarding eligibility for the purpose of insurance coverage and annuity, he or she must satisfy each of the following conditions:

Has reached age eighteen (18), but not age twenty five

Is unmarried

Is not employed on a full-time basis

Is in fulltime attendance as a student at an educational institution

Survivors’ Pension Percentage:

If the retiree was a member of the 1948 Pension Plan (hired prior to 1978), the eligible surviving legal spouse receives the same 100% amount as the retiree received. If the retiree was a member of the 1978 Pension Plan, the eligible surviving legal spouse receives 75 % of the amount the retiree received. 

If you have not established eligibility, contact the Retirement and Pension Benefits office at 901-636-6800 to request paperwork be mailed to you.

Other Benefits

Call Andrea Slaughter at 901-636-6637 and set up appointment to go to the benefits office with your marriage license and proof of death such as obituary or on Funeral Home letterhead to see if you will be allowed to continue to receive the pension checks and keep benefits until Benefits can get the Death Certificate and formally move the deceased’s pension into the survivor’s name. .Worse case, be prepared to have the participants pension check stopped until all paperwork has been completed.  There are forms the widow must complete. If you choose to fill out the forms and return by mail, they must be notarized.As of January 1, 2012 there is a $5,000 death benefit for retired City Employees which requires a death certificate

If you still have City Healthcare, there may be a short time in which the health insurance will be discontinued to allow for conversion (approximately up to six weeks).  If you find that your benefits have been terminated, please contact the Benefits Office at 901-636-6800 and they will have you reinstated until the pension conversion is completed. Once the entire process is completed, you will begin to receive your annuity check with the first one retroactive to include all checks that were missed. Any deductions that were missed will also be deducted from your first check.  These deductions will reactivate your insurance back to the death date of the participant.  You must specify if you wish to keep AFLAC coming out of your check or it could be terminated during process.

 [Rev July 2, 2019]              Pg.2

The following forms must be completed and given to City Benefits:

  1. Dependent’s Affidavit Allowance Form – to change the name on the pension check
  2. W4P for taxes contact your tax representative
  3. Form to continue Health Insurance, AFLAC, or any other policy you may have
  4. Life Insurance Claim Form
  5. Retirement Benefit Election Form
  6. Documents required to claim any benefits are: 

Original Death Certificate; Copy of Funeral Expenses; Copies of Marriage License; Legal Dependent;

Birth certificate

Contact the Union Representative

If the retiree was a member of a represented group, contact that group regarding any benefits that might be available, this would include Memphis Firefighters Association 901-386-3129, Memphis Police Association 901-523-7075,  or any other representative group.  A certified Death Certificate will be required.

Other Information of Interest:

Contact the Veteran Administration if the deceased was a veteran and provide a copy of the  DD214 discharge papers to receive a flag; to see additional benefits go on line to or call 1-800-333-4636.

If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, it will stop, however, you could be eligible for benefits.  If you both were receiving Social Security checks, you will only be eligible for the higher of the two. Immediately contact Social Security and advise them of the death so you can be informed on the available benefits you may be eligible to receive or go on line to or call 1-800-772-1213.

If the deceased and survivor were married and both names were on the title, then the real estate passes automatically to the survivor.  A copy of the death certificate must be sent to the County register’s office for recording.  If the parties were married but only the deceased’s name is on the deed, then a probate court procedure is required to get title legally transferred. Contact your automobile insurance company to delete the deceased name from the policy. If the deceased had any debt, contact those creditors to find out about any outstanding debt and what your liability, if any, is.

Benefit Phone  Numbers and Options

City of Memphis Benefits     901-636-6800   

[Toll Free #1-866-543-4367 For Out of Town City Retirees]

Hit #1 to leave a message

Hit #2 to request a call back

There is only one physical City Benefit Office:  2714 Union Extended 4th Floor Room 100, Memphis, Tn.

Do not go to City Hall for Benefit changes. 

AFLAC Diane Bradley           901-901-761-8002

ACRE Office                            901-525-2615

MPA                                          901-523-7075

MFFA                                        901-386-3129

Gather and review all your documents now to ensure their accuracy, and place them in a safe and accessible place. Let your family know about all of this, and where these documents are.

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