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Survivors' Benefits

Quick guide for survivors

The first thing you will need to do is send us a death notification.
If you are a spouse, child, or secondary dependent of the deceased retiree, you may be eligible for a survivor’s benefit. In general, the Fund will require, as applicable and if not already in its file, the submission of copies of the following documents to process the benefits. We remind you to please include the participant’s/retiree’s Unique Identification Number (UID) when sending the documents below:
  1. Death certificate of the participant/retiree;
  2. Marriage certificate(s) of the participant’s/retiree’s widow/widower and/or divorced surviving spouse;
  3. Divorce decree(s) of the participant’s/retiree’s divorced surviving spouse (if applicable);
  4. Birth certificate of each beneficiary;
  5. Original and authenticated Payment Instructions (form Pens.E/2) from each beneficiary; and
  6. Copy of an official identification document from each beneficiary and bearing the beneficiary’s signature (such as passport, driver’s license, national identity card).
For more information, please read the survivor’s section at the end of the page.

Surviving spouse’s benefit

Articles 34 and 35 of the Regulations

This benefit is payable:

  1. to the surviving spouse of a retiree who was entitled to a retirement, early retirement, deferred retirement or disability benefit, if the surviving spouse was married to the retiree at the date of separation from service and remained married to him/her until the date of death; or
  2. to the surviving spouse of a participant who died in service, if the surviving spouse was married to the participant at the date of death in service.
Under what circumstances is a surviving spouse’s benefit not payable by the Fund upon the death of a retiree?

A surviving spouse’s benefit is not payable if the retiree separated from service before 1 April 2001 and opted for a deferred monthly benefit together with a one-time lump sum payment in respect of that service. Or If the marriage took place after separation from service and no article 35 ter annuity was purchased (see more below).

Under what circumstances is a surviving spouse’s benefit shared with another beneficiary?

If the Fund determines, on the basis of supporting documentation provided, that there are two or more surviving spouses entitled to a benefit, the survivor’s benefit is divided equally between such spouses. However, if the article 34 benefit is to be shared with a divorced surviving spouse (refer to article 35 bis below) then the division is proportionate to the length of each marriage to the participant.

How much is the surviving spouse’s benefit?

In general, the amount of the benefit is equivalent to half of the full retirement, early retirement or disability benefit payable to a participant or retiree. In the case of a full deferred retirement benefit that was not yet in payment, the surviving spouse’s benefit is equivalent to half the (actuarial) value of the full deferred retirement benefit at the time of the retiree’s death.

When does payment of a surviving spouse’s benefit start?

An entitlement to a surviving spouse’s benefit is effective as of the first day of the month following the date of the retiree’s death. However, in the case of a participant’s death in service, it is due as of the day after the death.

How is the surviving spouse’s benefit paid and for how long is it payable?

The surviving spouse’s benefit is paid monthly to the bank account specified in the original signed payment instructions submitted to the Fund, and for as long as the surviving spouse is alive. Divorced surviving spouse’s benefit. (Article 35 bis of the Regulations). This benefit is payable to the divorced surviving spouse of a participant or retiree who meets the requirements set forth in Article 35 bis (b) of the Regulations.

Divorced surviving spouse's benefit

Who can apply for a divorced surviving spouse’s benefit?

The former spouse of a participant or of a retiree who survives said participant or retiree can request a divorced surviving spouse’s benefit.

What conditions have to be met for the payment of a divorced surviving spouse’s benefit?

There are four conditions that have to be met. These are outlined in Article 35 bis (b) of the UNJSPF Regulations.

  1. The participant had been married to the former spouse for a continuous period of at least ten years, during which contributions were paid to the Fund on account of the participant or the participant was awarded a disability benefit under article 33 of the Regulations;
  2. The participant's death occurred within 15 years of the date when the divorce became final, unless the former spouse proves that at the time of death the participant was under a legal obligation to pay maintenance to the former spouse;
  3. The former spouse has reached the age of 40. Otherwise the benefit entitlement shall commence on the day immediately following the day that age is reached; and
  4. Evidence is provided that a divorce settlement does not have an express renouncement of UNJSPF pension benefit entitlements.
How much is the divorced surviving spouse’s benefit?

If the participant or retiree separated from the service of the Organization before 1 April 1999, the divorced surviving spouse’s benefit is a fixed amount. As of 1 April 2009, this amount is estimated at US$ 9,337.00 per year (US$ 778.00 per month).

However, the amount payable cannot exceed the amount payable to a surviving spouse. If the participant or retiree separated from the service of the Organization on or after 1 April 1999 and there is one or more surviving spouse(s) entitled to a widow’s/widower’s benefit, the survivor’s benefit is divided between the surviving spouse(s) and the former spouse(s) in proportion to the duration of their marriages to the participant/retiree.

If the participant or retiree separated from the service of the Organization on or after 1 April 1999, and there is no widow/widower entitled to a survivor’s benefit, the divorced surviving spouse’s benefit is equivalent to half of the full benefit payable to the participant or to the retiree.

When does payment of a surviving spouse’s benefit start?

If the participant or retiree separated from the service of the Organization before 1 April 1999, payment of the divorced surviving spouse’s benefit is due as of the first day of the month following the date of the participant’s/retiree’s death or as of 1 April 1999 whichever is later.

If the participant or retiree separated from the service of the Organization on or after 1 April 1999, payment of the divorced surviving spouse’s benefit is due as of the first day of the month following the date of the UNJSPF Chief Executive Officer’s decision authorizing the entitlement to the benefit.

How is the surviving spouse’s benefit paid and for how long is it payable?

This benefit is paid monthly to the bank account specified by the divorced surviving spouse in the original signed payment instructions submitted to the Fund, and for as long as he/she is alive, in accordance with article 35 bis of the Regulations of the Fund. Spouses married after separation (Article 35 ter of the Regulations) This benefit is payable in cases where a retiree enters into a marriage after separation from service and purchases an annuity for his/her new spouse.

Spouse married after separation

Who is considered a “spouse married after separation” for UNJSPF pension benefit purposes?

A person entering into a marriage with a retiree after the date of the retiree’s separation from the service of his/her employing organization.

Who can purchase an annuity?

A retiree receiving a periodic benefit may elect to purchase an annuity for a spouse married after separation.

What process must a retiree follow to purchase an annuity for a spouse married after separation?

The retiree should submit a request for the purchase of an annuity within one year of the date of the marriage (or within 180 days after the date of marriage if the marriage took place before 1 January 2009) and ask for an estimate.

If upon receiving the estimate, the retiree decides to purchase the annuity, payment for the annuity will be made via a monthly deduction from his/her benefit, thus reducing the monthly benefit paid to him/her by the Fund.

Does the entitlement become effective immediately upon electing to purchase the annuity?

No. The entitlement to a benefit becomes effective 18 months after the date of marriage (or after one year if the marriage took place before 1 January 2009).

How is the entitlement for a spouse married after separation calculated?

The amount of the benefit payable to a spouse married after separation depends on the percentage elected by the UNJSPF retiree. In any case, the monthly benefit payable to the spouse shall not be larger than the amount of the reduced monthly benefit which was payable to the retiree.

When does payment of the benefit begin?

Upon becoming effective, the benefit for a spouse married after separation is payable as of the first day of the month following the date of the retiree’s death.

How is the benefit paid and for how long is it payable?

The benefit is paid monthly to the bank account specified by the spouse married after separation in the original signed payment instructions submitted to the Fund, and for as long as the spouse is alive.

Can the participant “opt out” of purchasing the annuity once the election has been made?

The participant may opt out of purchasing the annuity at any time prior to the date that the election takes effect, i.e., one year or 18 months after the date of marriage as the case may be. Once the election is in effect it cannot be revoked except by divorce or death of the spouse married after separation.

Secondary dependent's benefit

Articles 37 of the Regulations

This benefit is payable to only one surviving secondary dependent of a participant who was entitled to a retirement, early retirement or disability benefit, or dies in service. The benefit is payable only if there is no surviving spouse, divorced surviving spouse or child eligible for a periodic benefit.

Who is considered a “secondary dependent” for UNJSPF pension benefit purposes?

A secondary dependent is a participant’s/retiree’s mother or father or unmarried sister or brother under the age of 21, who was the participant’s/retiree’s dependent during his/her service or from the date of separation from service until the participant’s/retiree’s death. “Dependent” means in receipt of financial support from the participant/retiree, in an amount sufficient to meet the financial criteria established for the payment of a secondary dependents allowance under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the participant’s/retiree’s employing/former employing organization, whether or not such allowance was actually paid.

Under what circumstance is a secondary dependent’s benefit not payable by the Fund?

A secondary dependent’s benefit is not payable if a benefit is due to a child or surviving spouse/divorced surviving spouse. In the case of a brother or a sister a benefit would also not be payable if the participant had elected a deferred retirement benefit.

How many secondary dependents can benefit from this entitlement?
How much is the secondary dependent’s benefit?

If the benefit is payable to a surviving parent, it would be equivalent to the rate of the benefit payable in respect of a surviving spouse. If it is payable to a surviving sister or brother under the age of 21, it would be equivalent to the rate of the benefit payable in respect of a child.

How is the secondary dependent’s benefit paid and for how long is it payable?

Whether the benefit is payable to a surviving parent or to an unmarried sister or brother under the age of 21, the payment is effected monthly in accordance with the original signed payment instructions submitted to the Fund. If the benefit is payable to a surviving parent, payment normally continues for the rest of the surviving parent’s life, whereas the benefit for a surviving unmarried sister or brother normally stops when he or she turns 21. It may, however, be paid beyond the age of 21 if the surviving sister or brother is found by the relevant SPC to be incapacitated by injury or illness for substantial gainful employment.

For survivors

Member Self-Service and Unique Identification Number

If you are eligible to receive a Survivor’s benefit, you will need to familiarize yourself with some of the UNJSPF’s features. All retirees and beneficiaries have a Unique Identification Number (UID) and can register in Member Self-Service (MSS). These links will provide you information about UID and MSS. 

 

Two-Track

If you are eligible to receive a survivor’s benefit you will have the option of having your benefit adjusted by your local cost of living. Here is what you need to know about the Two-Track. It’s a very important decision, so please read carefully.

 

Emergency Fund

As a beneficiary, you could request access to the emergency fund.

Click on the link below for more information.

 

Non-traditional unions guidelines and annex

Effective date: 01 September 2016

Guidelines to determine eligibility for spousal benefits under Articles 34 and 35 of the UNJSPF Regulations (Rev.1)

Disclaimer
The information on this page is made available for the convenience of the UNJSPF beneficiaries. If there is an ambiguity, inconsistency or conflict between the information provided and the UNJSPF Regulations and Rules, any decisions will be based on the Regulations and Rules, and not on the information contained in this page.

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