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When you apply to retire, you will make a decision about beneficiaries that may be the same or different than the beneficiary choices you already have in place. You will only be able to change this decision in limited circumstances explained below. The retirement application explains your options as well. Please consider your beneficiary decision carefully. PERF recommends that you attend a pre-retirement workshop or consult with a PERF counselor or call center representative if you have any questions about beneficiaries.
When you fill out your retirement application, you will have to make a beneficiary decision. Simply put, you will answer the following questions:
If you are a member of the Hybrid plan, you can name only one beneficiary for any of the joint with survivor benefit options (30, 40, or 50). If you select retirement options 10, 61, or 71, you may name more than one beneficiary. You may name a person, trust, your estate, or other legal entity as beneficiary. If you name more than one beneficiary, any benefits due upon your death will be prorated among your beneficiaries.
If you are a member of the Hybrid plan and you select Option 10, 61, or 71 at retirement, you may change your beneficiary at any time prior to your death. If you select Option 30, 40, or 50 at retirement and your beneficiary dies after you retire, you may name a new beneficiary. If you are single at the time of your retirement and then become married, or if you are married and then your spouse dies and you remarry, you may change your beneficiary if your current spouse is not your beneficiary, or if you did not name a beneficiary at the time of retirement. If you are eligible to make such a change, you may name only one beneficiary.
You must furnish a copy of your spouse’s or beneficiary’s death certificate, and, in the case of marriage, a copy of your marriage license. You must also provide the birth certificate of your new beneficiary. Please note that changing your beneficiary may have a significant impact on your monthly benefit.
Indiana law prevents you or your beneficiary from assigning your PERF benefits. Accordingly, PERF cannot honor any divorce decree which requires PERF to pay anyone other than you or your legal beneficiary. In order to be consistent with the laws governing PERF, and in order to satisfy Indiana’s domestic relations laws, a divorce decree involving your benefits should order you (or your legal beneficiary thereof) to make payments to your ex-spouse, rather than ordering PERF to make such payments. In addition, Indiana law prohibits PERF from garnishing a member’s benefit for child support payments.
You should also note that QDROs do not apply to PERF. Even though QDROs are the product of federal legislation, which normally supersedes state laws, they do not apply to PERF as it is a governmental plan exempt from the QDRO requirements. Furthermore, under state law, benefits, distributions of contributions, and money in the Fund are exempt from any legal process.