In accordance with Delaware Code, upon the death of an employee retired from the State Employees’ Pension Plan, the Closed State Police Pension Plan or the New State Police Pension Plan a burial benefit in the amount of $7,000 will be paid to a named beneficiary. There is no policy number or cash value associated with this benefit. This is not an insurance policy. As such, this is a taxable benefit to the individual or individuals named as beneficiary.
At the time of retirement, individuals retiring from the above pension plans will have the opportunity to name a beneficiary to receive the $7,000 burial benefit. Once the Pension Office is notified of the pensioner’s death, paperwork will be mailed to the beneficiary. This paperwork will include information regarding federal regulations the Pension Office must follow, the taxability of the benefit, and the rights and options of the beneficiary.
The beneficiary will have the right to take the monies in several different ways. The beneficiary may choose to take the monies as a cash payment or to assign the monies to a funeral home. Both of these options create a taxable event for the beneficiary. The beneficiary will receive tax form 1099R and be required to claim the monies on their income tax return as taxable income. The beneficiary has the option to avoid a taxable event by rolling monies over to an IRA or other eligible plan. If a spouse is the named beneficiary, the monies can be rolled into a traditional IRA or any other plan that will accept them. If anyone other than a spouse is named beneficiary, they are limited to rolling the monies only to an Inherited (or Beneficiary) IRA. If you have named a beneficiary only so that person can use the burial benefit monies to pay funeral expenses, please be aware the release of these monies will create a taxable event for that person.
If it is your intention for the burial benefit to be used to pay for your funeral expenses, you have the option to name the funeral home as the beneficiary. If you choose this option, the Pension Office will, after being notified of your death, release all burial benefit paperwork to the funeral home, the funeral home will complete the paperwork, and then payment will be released directly to the funeral home. In this way, no taxable event is created for a relative or friend who is doing nothing more than completing paperwork and assigning the monies to a funeral home.
Regardless of who you name as beneficiary, you should always make sure the Pension Office has up-to-date contact information for that individual or individuals. Payment cannot be made if we are unable to contact your beneficiary to provide them with the necessary paperwork to be completed and/or request appropriate documentation.
To update your current beneficiary contact information or to change the beneficiary you have listed, print and complete the Burial Benefit Designation/Change of Beneficiary Form found on our website: www.delawarepensions.com