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The "Pop-Up" Provision

[Posted on 07/12/2018 at 1:48 PM]

In the Spring/Summer issue of PensionsPlus, we included a list of the top 10 things you should know as a retiree.

#9:  Survivor benefits:

If you elect the Joint & 50% Survivor Option or the Joint & 100% Survivor Option at retirement and your spouse precedes you in death, your benefit can revert (pop-up) to the Life Income Annuity amount. 

Here is some more detailed information on the “pop-up” provision:
A key feature of your MOSERS defined benefit (DB) pension plan is that it can provide financial security for your eligible survivor(s) as well. During the retirement process, you will make elections to determine if any potential survivor benefits will be paid to anyone after your death or not.

If you are a general state employee, married, vested in MOSERS, and die before you retire with MOSERS, your eligible spouse will receive survivor benefits. 

MOSERS will pay monthly survivor benefits with annual COLAs for the remainder of your spouse's lifetime.

However, do you know what happens:
• if you are married,
• elected a joint & survivor option at retirement resulting in a reduction on your monthly benefit, 
and your spouse precedes you in death? 

Answer: Your benefit will no longer be reduced. You may be eligible for the “pop-up” provision. The pop-up increases your monthly retirement benefit to the normal annuity benefit amount. 

The pop-up is not automatic. You must notify MOSERS and send a copy of your spouse’s death certificate before we can adjust your benefit.

Not yet retired? 
In general, you cannot change your retirement benefit payment option once the first payment has been issued. MOSERS pays survivor benefits according to the benefit payment option you elected at retirement. The pop-up is one exception. 

If you later remarry, you have one year from the date of remarriage to reelect a joint & survivor option and name your new spouse as beneficiary. This is referred to as a "pop-down."

Also, whether you are retired or not, it is important to periodically review and update your life insurance beneficiaries. After life events like marriage, divorce, or death of a family member, check to ensure your beneficiary designations are current. 

Please note: This information applies primarily to general state employees. If you are a judge, administrative law judge, statewide elected official, or a legislator, please refer to your MOSERS handbook or contact a MOSERS benefit counselor for specific information.

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Missouri State Employees' Retirement System
Address: 907 Wildwood Dr., Jefferson City, MO 65102 Phone: 800.827.1063 URL: Email: Founded On: September 1, 1957