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When you join SDCERS, you will be asked to name a beneficiary. A beneficiary is someone you choose to receive certain benefits upon your death, including a lump sum of your accumulated contributions, plus interest, a monthly continuance of your retirement benefit (if eligible), or other SDCERS administered benefits available upon your death. A beneficiary can be a spouse, minor child or any other person, estate or living trust you elect. When naming a beneficiary keep in mind that the rights of any surviving spouse or minor children may take precedence over any other named beneficiary.

Throughout your career with the City, Port or Airport, a marriage, death, dissolution of marriage (divorce) or the birth of a child may trigger the need for you to change your named beneficiary. It is very important that you keep your beneficiary designations up to date at all times. When you die, SDCERS will pay any applicable benefits to the individuals listed on the last beneficiary form received.

To change your beneficiary, you may visit the Member Portal to submit directly online.

Any family member, friend or caretaker of the deceased member may call to inform SDCERS of the member's passing. You may contact SDCERS at 619.525.3600 or toll free at 800.774.4977.

Designated beneficiaries will be contacted by SDCERS as soon as possible following receipt of notification. Forms and instructions on how to apply for beneficiary retirement benefits will be sent following receipt of a copy of the death certificate and confirmation of the beneficiary's contact information.

Death after retirement

Eligible beneficiaries may be entitled to the following benefits upon the death of the member after retirement:

  • Continuance of a specified portion of retiree's monthly retirement benefit, as designated at the time of the member's retirement by the member, for life.
  • Participation in the City's health benefits program (City retirees only), which is administered by SDCERS.
  • Distribution of a one-time $2,000 death benefit, unless a separate beneficiary has been named.
  • Lump sum payment of any remaining DROP account funds.

Death in active service

If a member dies while still employed with the City, Port or Airport, his or her eligible beneficiary may be entitled to one of the following benefits:

  • If the deceased member was service eligible, his or her spouse or eligible minor children are entitled to:
    An amount equal to 50% of the projected monthly allowance the member would have received had the member retired on the day of his or her death; or 

  • A non-service eligible deceased member's named beneficiary is entitled to:
    A full refund of any contributions made by the member plus interest
    and one month of pay for each year of creditable service up to a maximum of six years.

For more complete information regarding death benefits, click here to be redirected to that section of the
San Diego Municipal Code.



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San Diego City Employees' Retirement System - 401 West A Street, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 525-3600 - Toll Free: (800) 774-4977 - FAX: (619) 595-0357

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