4 Steps to Take if Your Pension Beneficiary Passes

As members of the Michigan Public School Retirement System (MPSERS), many of you will name a pension beneficiary, often a spouse. Naming a beneficiary lowers the amount that you receive each month.

In the event that your pension beneficiary passes before you do, you can go back to what’s known as the “straight life” amount. “Straight life” means that you have no beneficiary and choose to receive your pension for your lifespan.

Here are the steps you should take to manage your pension after a beneficiary passes:

  1. Contact ORS to revert to straight life.
    ORS administers your pension and handles the cancellation of insurance for your beneficiary. ORS will require a death certificate to initiate changes to your plan.

    Please note that you cannot change your beneficiary, with new spouses being the exception. You may name your new spouse as a beneficiary after 6 months of marriage, but before 12 months. Click here for more details.

  2. Purchase death certificates.
    In general, you should get about a dozen death certificates to provide entities that assist in closing out the estate. Cost is minimal, and it’s easier to request these copies earlier in the process.

  3. Contact your Social Security Administration office.
    You may be eligible for a spousal payment or survivor’s benefits. Learn more here.

  4. Contact MARSP.

    Reach out to MARSP by phone or email so we can update our records.


Read on with a membership to MARSP…

MARSP is committed to being the premier advocate for all retired school personnel. We make certain that our members’ voices and views are heard in Lansing. MARSP is your lobbying partner on critical issues impacting retirees and an authority on the MPSERS pension and healthcare system.

Interested in learning more about MARSP?

We would be happy to discuss membership benefits with you.