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Richmond, VA 23219

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Home
 > Employers
 > Member Benefits and Programs
 > Death-In-Service Benefits
 > Work-Related Cause of Death

Work-Related Cause of Death

A work-related cause of death is the result of an occupational illness or injury and the cause is determined to be work-related under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act. If you die while you are an active member from a work-related cause, your named beneficiary will be eligible for a lump-sum payment of any funds remaining in your member contribution account. In addition, your spouse, your natural or legally adopted minor child or your parent will be eligible for a monthly benefit (select from the following links) whether or not that person is your named beneficiary. If one of these individuals is the named beneficiary, he or she will receive a monthly benefit in addition to the refund of member contributions.

First, to your spouse

Your spouse receives a monthly benefit. The benefit continues if your spouse remarries. It ends when your spouse dies.

If no spouse, to your natural or legally adopted minor child or children

Your natural or legally adopted minor child receives a monthly benefit until he or she reaches age 18. If you have more than one natural or legally adopted minor child, each child receives an equal share of the monthly benefit. The youngest child’s age is used to calculate the benefit. As each child reaches age 18, his or her share is redistributed equally among the remaining minor children. The benefit ends when the last child reaches age 18.

If no spouse or minor child or children, to your parent or parents

Your parent receives a monthly benefit until he or she dies. If both parents are living, the benefit is calculated based on the youngest parent’s age. Each parent receives an equal share. When one parent dies, the other parent receives the deceased parent’s share. The benefit ends when the surviving parent dies.

None of the above

Any funds remaining in your member contribution account are paid in a lump sum accordingly:

  • To your natural or legally adopted adult child or children
  • If none, to the descendants of your deceased natural or legally adopted adult child or children
  • If none, to the duly appointed executor or administrator of your estate
  • If none, to your next of kin under the laws of the state where you resided at the time of your death

Work-Related Monthly Benefit Calculation

If your spouse, your natural or legally adopted minor child or your parent is eligible for Social Security survivor benefits, the VRS work-related benefit will be equal to 33⅓ percent of your average final compensation at the time of your death. If he or she is not eligible for Social Security survivor benefits, the VRS work-related benefit will be equal to 50 percent of your average final compensation at the time of your death. For more information, contact the Social Security Administration toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security Administration.

If your spouse, your natural or legally adopted minor child or your parent is eligible for a workers’ compensation survivor benefit, the VRS work-related benefit will supplement the workers’ compensation benefit. The VRS benefit also may be exempt from income taxes. For more information, contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) toll-free at 1-800-829-1040 or visit the IRS website.

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

If you die in service and your survivor or beneficiary is eligible for a monthly death-in-service benefit, he or she will be eligible for a COLA effective July 1 following one full calendar year (January 1 to December 31) from the date the monthly benefit begins. Read more about the COLA.

Workers’ Compensation Survivor Benefits

If you die from a work-related cause, your survivor may be eligible for a workers’ compensation survivor benefit. Contact your human resource office for more information.

Deferring Taxes on Member Contribution Account Payments

Lump-sum payments of pre-tax member contributions and interest are subject to income taxes. For more information, see the IRS 402(f) Special Tax Notice.

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