Sisters and Brothers,
The Florida Pension Plan Summary Plan Document (SPD) has specific language regarding survivor benefits in the event of your death for both active and retired employees. If you were to die while actively employed but are not married, the SPD states, "no survivor benefits are payable." Thankfully but tragically after losing one of our Union brothers earlier this year, both the Company and the Union learned this is not necessarily true. In accordance with the Pension Protection Act of 2006, the word spouse has been re-defined to include domestic partners and what used to be termed, "common law marriage." From an administrative standpoint, if an employee has a domestic partner they'd like to name as beneficiary, that person MUST be identified as the beneficiary in the system.
The MYHR service center will be the point of contact when the survivor commences the benefit, and below is the type of general documentation they will need to provide to the service center to confirm the domestic partner relationship:
At least one from EACH group:
Group 1 (required at least one document):
- Personal affidavit stating when and where the common law was mutually agreed to become spouses (signed by both parties)
- Affidavits from at least two other persons familiar with the relationship (including details on timing, how long they have been together, length of time, addresses where reside or any other public announcement of the marriage)
Group 2 (required at least one document):
- Deeds showing title to property held jointly by both parties
- Bank statements or checks showing both parties on a joint account(s)
- Tax returns (Federal) showing both parties as jointly filing
- Insurance policies naming the other party as beneficiary
- Birth certificate of any children showing both parties as parents
- Loan documentation showing both parties as responsible for financial obligation
If a Florida Bargaining participant in the final average pay formula dies before commencement of benefits, the participant’s surviving spouse will receive a death benefit. If the participant is not married (as defined by the Pension Protection Act of 2006) and dies before the benefit commencement date, no death benefit is payable.
When a Florida Bargaining participant in the final average pay formula elects to commence his benefit, the participant will be given an election as to the form of payment. The payment forms include joint and survivor annuities that provide payment for the participant’s life and, after the participant’s death, payment to a designated beneficiary for the designated beneficiaries life. For a participant who is married, the payment must be in the form of a joint and 50% survivor annuity with the participant’s spouse unless the participant’s spouse consents to the participant’s election of another form. Subject to certain IRS limits, children may be designated beneficiaries at a reduced rate.
Thank you and please stay safe.