Information for Survivors of NYS Employees
- Required Documents
- Information on Paycheck Stub
- Retirement Benefits
- Survivor's Benefit Program
- Social Security
- Health Insurance
- Dental Insurance
- Employee Organization Benefits
- Veteran's Benefits
- Workers' Compensation
- Accidental Death Benefit
- Savings Bonds
- Individual Retirement Accounts
- Tax Sheltered Savings Programs
- Credit Union
- Income Tax
- Personal Property
- Other Considerations
Message from the Commissioner
The New York State Department of Civil Service understands that during times of bereavement, it can be difficult to be concerned about various business matters that may need your attention. Because of this, we have published this helpful guide to provide you with the information you will need to handle some of the many important decisions and arrangements you may have to make.
One of the things you will need to determine is whether the deceased was eligible for or participated in any of the benefit programs that are available to State employees. This guide offers a brief description of those benefits. This guide also explains the various documents and information you will need in attending to these matters. A checklist and space where you can record pertinent information are also provided.
It is my hope that this guide will help make it easier for you to collect the information you need during this difficult time.
This guide was developed by the New York State Department of Civil Service to help you determine what benefits you may be entitled to as a survivor of a New York State employee. This guide includes telephone numbers to call if you have questions. If you need more information, please contact the Personnel Office of the agency where the employee worked.
In certain business or financial matters relating to the deceased, it will be necessary for you to have certified copies of the death certificate; you will also need certified copies of birth certificates for the deceased, the surviving spouse, and any minor children. It is a good idea to have these documents readily available.
- Death certificate
- Deceased's birth certificate
- Spouse's birth certificate
- Minor children's birth certificates
- Marriage certificate
Information on Paycheck Stub
The deceased employee's paycheck record/stub contains information that will be helpful to you in determining some matters that may need your attention. It carries the employee's Social Security Number and shows payroll deductions for items such as United States Savings Bonds; Individual Retirement Accounts; Tax Sheltered Savings Programs; Credit Unions; retirement system membership, loans, arrears and voluntary contributions; union or employee organization insurance; Managerial/Confidential Life Insurance; and health insurance coverage.
- Obtain last paycheck record/stub
- Date last paycheck
- Annual salary
- Payroll deductions
The deceased State employee may have a final salary check coming or may have money coming for the five-day pay deferral, unused vacation, overtime credits, travel expenses or bonds. Checks for this money will now have to be drawn in your name, as the survivor.
The Personnel Office of the department where the deceased was employed will ask you to complete an affidavit stating that you are the next of kin and are entitled to this money. This is a required procedure.
If you have any uncashed State checks issued to the deceased, you should return them to the Personnel Office and request that new checks be drawn in your name.
Questions concerning uncashed or outstanding checks should be referred to the deceased's Personnel Office.
- Final salary check due
- Uncashed paycheck
- Inquired about money due for vacation, overtime, or travel
If the deceased was an active member of a retirement system, the designated beneficiary may be entitled to a cash death benefit. The amount of the benefit will be affected by duration of membership in the system, salary level and other factors.
The Personnel Office of the agency where the deceased was employed reports the death to the retirement system. The retirement system then begins to process the payment of benefits to the employee's beneficiary.
Ordinarily, the beneficiary will hear from the retirement system within a week to 10 days following notification of the death of the employee. The retirement system will also tell the beneficiary what amount, if any, of the death benefit is subject to income tax.
If you have any questions, write to the retirement system. In your letter, refer to the employee's retirement registration or Social Security number (or TIAA contract number and CREF certificate number, if applicable) and enclose a certified copy of the death certificate. Addresses of the major systems are:New York State and Local Employees'
110 State Street
Albany, New York 12236
(518) 474-7736 The Teachers' Insurance Annuity Association College Retirement
Equities Fund (TIAA/CREF) 730 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10017
(800) 842-2888 New York State Teachers' Retirement System
10 Corporate Woods Drive
Albany, New York 12211
- Retirement registration number
- Social security number (TIAA contract number and/or CREF certificate number for members of TIAA/CREF)
Survivor's Benefit Program
A survivor's benefit may be payable on behalf of a deceased employee under certain special circumstances. Ordinarily, no action by the designated beneficiary is necessary in connection with this benefit. Questions concerning eligibility under this program can be answered by the deceased's Personnel Office, or you may write directly to the:New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System
Survivor's Benefit Program
110 State Street
Albany, New York 12236
Payment of Social Security benefits is not automatic. If the deceased was covered by Social Security, you should inquire about survivors' benefits for widow/widower and minor or disabled children and dependent parents. When filing a claim for benefits, a certified copy of the death certificate, birth certificates for the surviving spouse and minor or disabled children and a marriage certificate will be required and returned to you. A copy of the deceased's W-2 for the preceding two years will be necessary, as well as Social Security numbers for the deceased and for all applicants. The address of your nearest Social Security office will be listed in the telephone directory under "Social Security Administration". You are encouraged by Social Security to use either their appointment or telephone claims system for your convenience.
- Social Security numbers (Deceased, Spouse and children
- Death certificate
- Birth certificate (dependents)
- marriage certificate
- W-2 form for deceased for two years preceding year of death
- Phone Number - Social Security Administration
Outstanding hospital, medical, or prescription drug bills may be covered expenses under the State's Health Insurance Program. Ask the employee's Personnel Office for help. If you aren't sure how to contact the Personnel Office or still have questions, please write or call:Employee Benefits Division
New York State
Department of Civil Service
Albany, New York 12239
Web site: www.cs.ny.gov
Telephone: (518) 457-5754 (Albany area) or 1-800-833-4344
The New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) protects you: If the employee dies while on the State payroll, you (the enrolled spouse) and your enrolled dependent children will continue to receive NYSHIP coverage without charge for five biweekly payroll periods beyond the payroll period for which your spouse's last health insurance deduction was taken.
As the unremarried enrolled spouse, you and your eligible dependent children may be allowed to continue coverage under NYSHIP after the extended benefits period ends. If you or your enrolled dependent children are eligible for dependent survivor coverage but choose not to participate or fail to make the required payments, NYSHIP coverage will end permanently.You and your eligible dependent children may not re-enroll in the State program.
Whether you are eligible to continue coverage under NYSHIP and what your premium will cost depend on the following circumstances:
- If your spouse died as a result of a work-related illness or injury, regardless of your spouse's age at the time of death or length of service, the State will pay 100 percent of the cost of NYSHIP coverage for you and your dependents as long as you remain eligible.
- If your spouse's death was not the result of a work related illness or injury:
- If at the time of death your spouse was an active employee who had 10 years of service and was within 10 years or less of retirement, you and your dependents will make the same contribution that active employees make toward the cost of the Empire Plan or HMO premium.
- If at the time of death your spouse was an active employee who had 10 years of service but was not within 10 years of retirement, you and your dependents would be required to pay both the employer's and the employee's share of the premium.
- If you lose eligibility or die, your enrolled dependents may continue their coverage as dependent survivors until they no longer meet the eligibility requirements as dependents. If they no longer meet these requirements,they may enroll through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) which is a Federal continuation of coverage law or convert to a direct-pay contract.
- Survivors are covered by the same rules as active employees for changing health insurance plans.
- If you and your dependents are not eligible for survivor coverage under the State Health Insurance Program, you may be eligible to continue coverage in NYSHIP for up to 36 months under COBRA or convert to direct-pay contracts. There are deadlines for applying. Call the employee's Personnel Office for information.
- Health insurance coverage, Name of plan
- Outstanding medical bills
Outstanding dental bills may be covered under a State or union sponsored Dental Insurance program. Dental Insurance for the surviving dependents will continue for a period of time indicated by the State or union sponsored Dental Insurance Plan. The Personnel Office and/or union benefit fund will advise you about this coverage. Ask about COBRA continuation coverage. If you have further questions, please contact the Employee Benefits Division at the address and telephone number listed in Health Insurance section.Checklist
- Dental Insurance coverage
- Outstanding dental bills
Employee Organization Benefits
As a member of a union, professional or fraternal organization, the deceased may have been covered by life insurance policies. It is also possible that the deceaseds' beneficiary may be eligible for other benefits from these organizations.
If you know that the deceased belonged to any organizations of this type, you should inquire about possible benefits. The deceaseds' Personnel Office may be helpful in this regard.
If the deceased employee was a veteran of military service, you should inquire about benefits for which you may be eligible as the survivor.
A brochure entitled, "Benefits For Veterans and Their Families" is available by writing to:New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs
5 Empire State Plaza, Suite 2836
Albany, New York 12223-1551
For assistance in filing for veterans' benefits contact your nearest State Veteran Counseling Center, Veterans Service Agency or call the toll-free referral number at 1-888-VETSNYS (838-7697)Checklist
- Branch of Service
- Period of Service
- Armed Forces Serial Number
If the deceased has a workers' compensation case pending because of an on-the-job injury or occupational illness, you should request information on the case from the deceaseds' Personnel Office. If the deceased was represented in this case by an attorney, you also should consult the attorney.
- WCB Case No
- Date of Injury
Accidental Death Benefit
If the death was the result of a job-related accident, as determined by the NYS Workers' Compensation Board, you may be eligible for a survivor's $50,000 accidental death benefit. As the surviving spouse, child or dependent of the deceased employee, to receive this benefit, you must file form C-62 (Claim for Compensation in Death Case) with the WCB District Office within two years of the date of the deceased employee's accidental death. Details of this benefit are available from the deceaseds' Personnel Office.
You may also be eligible for an accidental death benefit from the NYS and Local Employees' retirement systems. See Retirement Benefits section for the retirement system's address and telephone number.
In addition, dependent children of the deceased admitted to the State University of New York (SUNY) may be eligible for full tuition reimbursement. In the case of State troopers, noncommissioned and commissioned officers and investigators in the Division of State Police and employees designated managerial or confidential, such children may be eligible for full tuition reimbursement at SUNY or full tuition up to the amount charged by SUNY while attending another accredited institution. For information on this Dependent Children Tuition Program, you should write directly to the:Governor's Office of Employee Relations
Empire State Plaza
Agency Building 2, Suite 1201
Albany, New York 12223-1250
- Job related accidental death
- WCB Case No.
- C-2 filed/Date filed
- Children eligible for tuition assistance
If the deceased had payroll deductions for United States Savings Bonds, and the accumulated deductions at the time of death were insufficient for the purchase of another bond, the remaining money will be returned.
Bonds issued in the name of the deceased which do not also include the name of the beneficiary are considered to be part of the deceaseds' estate.
For information, or assistance in obtaining a refund, call the National Bond and Trust Company at 1-800-426-9314.
Individual Retirement Accounts
If the deceased has one or more of these accounts, the financial institution (bank, insurance company or brokerage firm) should be notified. These firms will then forward the appropriate information to the beneficiary. The deceaseds' Personnel Office may be helpful in providing the names of institutions if the IRA was established under the State's program.
Tax Sheltered Savings Programs
The State provides both Deferred Compensation Programs and Tax Sheltered annuities for eligible employees through payroll deduction. The Personnel Office of the deceased employee should be contacted to determine if the deceased participated in these programs. Names and addresses of the firms associated with the program will then be provided.
The deceased may have been a member of a credit union. To inquire whether the deceased had a credit union savings account or loan, you should write directly to the credit union. The deceaseds' Personnel Office can refer you to the local credit union office.
A Federal, State and possibly a City of New York and City of Yonkers Income Tax return must be filed for the deceased. The taxes imposed by the City of New York and the City of Yonkers are administered by the State and includable on the State return. The retirement system will tell the beneficiary what amount, if any, of the death benefit is subject to income tax. For information on State income tax, call toll free 1-800-CALL TAX (1-800-225-5829). From areas outside New York State, call (518) 485-6800.
If you need to write, please address your letters to:New York State Tax Department
Taxpayer Assistance Bureau
The State Campus
Albany, New York 12227
For information on Federal income tax, contact the Internal Revenue Service in the city where you normally file your Federal Income Tax return.
There may be some personal things in the deceaseds' office and there may also be some official office material at home. The deceaseds' supervisor or the agency Personnel Office will be of assistance to you in handling these matters.
- If you are aware of any life insurance coverage with a private carrier, you should contact the local agent of that insurance company.
- If the deceased left a will, it may be with an attorney, in a safe deposit box or among personal papers at home.
- If there is a savings account, check with the bank to find out what happens to the account.
- If you think the deceased may have had a safe deposit box, you may want to inquire at local banks. If there is one, an official of the bank will explain how you may get the box opened.
- If there is a change of address for the beneficiary, the deceaseds' Personnel Office and the retirement system should be notified.
- In some cases, a death in the family makes it necessary for the survivor to look for employment. To find out about State job opportunities, we suggest you contact the:
NYS Department of Civil Service
Albany, New York 12239
The nearest New York State Department of Labor Community Service Center (CSC) can provide information and referral to local employment opportunities. The CSC can also assist you in career planning and in conducting your job search.