We are sorry for your loss. Although this may be a difficult time for you, we want to do everything possible to help you easily navigate the process of reporting the death of a retiree and/or beneficiary as soon as possible. Doing so promptly will help you more quickly establish continuing benefits and avoid possible financial hardship to surviving beneficiaries, family members or executors. Any delay in reporting could result in unearned retirement payments, which those beneficiaries and family members will be required to return.
This page will explain (i) the actions you must take to report a death and (ii) the rules and procedures that the Office of the State Comptroller will follow. Please follow the steps in Section I to report the death as soon as possible.
SECTION I: DEATH OF A STATE OF CONNECTICUT RETIREE OR RECIPIENT OF A BENEFIT FROM THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
When to report: You should follow these steps as possible after the death of either (i) a retiree from the State of Connecticut or (ii) a person who received retirement benefit from the State of Connecticut as a result of the death of such a retiree (a “Contingent Annuitant”) or (iii) a person who received Medicare reimbursement income or (iv) a person receiving a qualified domestic relations order payment.
Whom to contact: You can report the death of a State of Connecticut Retiree, or recipient of a benefit from the State of Connecticut, either by filling out the Report a Death form. A Customer Service representative will then use the information you provide to notify the units within the Office of the State Comptroller (“OSC”) that deal with payroll, health insurance, and group life insurance. Each of those units will separately reach out to you in writing.
The information you will need to provide when reporting a Retiree’s or Annuitant’s death:
- The retiree’s name
- His or her Social Security Number (if available). The SSN will help uniquely identify the individual in our system of record
- The person’s date of death
- Your name and your relationship to the deceased
- Was the retiree married at the time of death?
- If yes, please provide name and address of the spouse
- If the retiree’s spouse predeceased the retiree, please advise of this when reporting the retiree’s death
- Has an executor or representative of the estate been named?
- If yes, please provide the name, address, and telephone number of the executor, and please explain his or her relationship to the retiree
- If no, please indicate to whom we should be sending a letter to regarding the deceased retiree’s account.
- Was the pension recipient on Title 19 or Title XIX (Medicaid)?
- Are you aware if the retiree was collecting multiple pension benefits from the State of Connecticut?
SECTION II: PENSION BENEFIT
A retiree’s eligibility to receive pension benefits ends on the day of his or her death. If a pension payment was issued for the month in which the retiree died, a prorated portion of that payment may be due back to the State of Connecticut. If a pension payment was not issued for the month in which the retiree died, a prorated portion will be due to the estate of the retiree.
What to expect from the Retirement Payroll unit after you report a death:
Upon notification of a death, the OSC’s Retirement Payroll unit will review the decedent’s record. Within 2- 3 weeks, a letter will be sent to the decedent’s executor or representative and advise what (if any) information or documentation is needed to begin processing the account. Retirement Payroll will typically ask the executor for a copy of the death certificate. If Pension benefits are payable to a Contingent Annuitant after the retiree’s death, the necessary paperwork will be included with the letter sent by Retirement Payroll.
Continuing Pension Benefits:
Whether a Contingent Annuitant is eligible for continuing pension benefits depends on the choices made by the state retiree at the time he or she retires. Those choices are recorded on an option form completed at time of retirement. If the retiree does not choose an option that provides retirement income to a Contingent Annuitant, then, upon the retiree’s death, certain distributions might still be payable to one or more beneficiaries whom the retiree has named (refer to the option form or beneficiary form).
After receiving a report of a retiree’s death, the Retirement Payroll unit will review those forms to determine if there is a Contingent Annuitant or beneficiary(ies), and they will send the appropriate paperwork to the applicable parties. After the completed paperwork is returned by a Contingent Annuitant, a benefit record will be established in the annuitant’s name, and that account will begin receiving payments of the continued benefit. At this time, health insurance benefits (if applicable), will be set up retroactively for the annuitant and any eligible minor dependents of the retiree. If a one-time distribution is due to a beneficiary, that distribution will be made after the beneficiary has returned the completed paperwork.
Question: I reported the death of a State of Connecticut retiree. When will the Retirement Payroll unit make the retiree’s final retirement payment?
Answer: The Retirement Payroll unit will issue a final retirement payment (if applicable) on the last business day of the month following the return of the completed paperwork. The final payment will be made payable to the estate of the retiree. This final payment Is typically comprised of a prorated pension amount for the days of the month in which the retiree was living.
Question: I am the spouse of the deceased retiree, and there will not be an executor of the retiree’s estate. I just received the final payment made payable to the estate of the retiree, but the bank will not let me cash the check. What do I need to do?
Answer: If the retiree lived in Connecticut, you will need to complete an Affidavit in lieu of Administration and file it with the appropriate Probate Court. You can find the form of the affidavit here: http://www.ctprobate.gov/Forms/PC-212.pdf. If the retiree lived in another state, you will need to follow the appropriate procedures under that state’s laws. This affidavit asks the court for a Decree Transfer of Personal Property without Probate Proceedings.
- If everything is in order, the Probate Court will issue a Transfer Decree. The transfer decree will list the rightful person (for purposes of the check).
- Once you have received the Transfer Decree, you can go back to your bank with the original check, and they will cash it.
Question: I was the Power of Attorney and/or Conservator for a retiree who recently died. Can I cash the retiree’s final payout check?
Answer: No, you will need to complete the Affidavit in lieu of Administration with the Probate Court. Only Probate Court can determine who is entitled to the money.
Question: I returned the completed annuitant paperwork to the Retirement Payroll unit. How long will it take to start my monthly payments?
Answer: Once the Retirement Payroll unit received the completed paperwork, processing that paperwork might take several weeks. Depending on which day of the month the paperwork is received, pension payments will begin either on the last business day of that month or the last business day the following month.
Question: I am a Contingent Annuitant who is currently receiving the continued pension payments of a deceased retiree. Can I name someone to continue the benefits upon my death?
Answer: No. Any retirement allowance will be discontinued upon the death of a Contingent Annuitant.
Question: I am listed as a beneficiary of a deceased retiree’s pension. What do I need to do to receive payment of my one-time distribution? What if I live outside the United States?
Answer: If you do not yet have an individual tax identification number (“ITIN”), you will need to complete a W-7 form to apply for one. The completed Form W-7 should be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). (Please note that the IRS is an agency of the federal government; the OSC cannot issue your ITIN.) Persons outside the United States may obtain assistance with the Form W-7 by calling 1 (267) 947-1000 (not a toll-free number). Citizens of the United Kingdom may contact the United States Embassy by mail or by phone at  (207) 894-0477 for assistance in expediting a form W-7 request.
To receive your distribution, you will have to complete the form we provide. Please enter your SSN or ITIN, make election of how you want the distribution, sign, complete the form in full. Once the Retirement Payroll unit has received the completed paperwork, a paper check will be produced and mailed to the address that is entered on the forms that the beneficiary has submitted and signed.
Question: The beneficiary of a newly deceased retiree is a minor child. How will the one-time payment be made?
Answer: The minor child will be issued a one-time check and mailed to the parent/custodian/guardian.
Question: Following the death of a retiree, I received paperwork to complete as a Contingent Annuitant. Should I provide information about the retiree when I complete the paperwork?
Answer: No, the forms should be completed with the personal information about the Contingent Annuitant. The pension account will be set up in the annuitant’s name for tax purposes.
Question: Will I receive annual IRS forms reporting the pension income I receive as a Contingent Annuitant?
Answer: Yes. Each year, you will receive a 1099-R form, which you can file with your taxes.
Question: The pension recipient was enrolled in Title 19 (Medicaid) at the time of death. What do I need to do if I received a final payment made payable to the estate?
Answer: You should contact the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Collections Recovery unit DAS will advise you if the check will need to be forwarded to Title 19. You can reach DAS at 860-713-5400.
Question: The Contingent Annuitant of a newly deceased retiree is a minor child. How will payments be made?
Answer: Payments for minor children under the age of 21 must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service under the minor payee’s social security number. However, such benefits must be paid either to the parent/custodian of the minor payee under the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) or to a court appointed guardian or trustee. Please be aware that the benefit payment must be electronically deposited to an UTMA account.
The Active & Pension Payroll Services Division cannot direct deposit payments into an account for a minor payee unless the account has been established as an UTMA. Therefore, we will be unable to process any request to have this payment deposited directly to a bank account until receipt of our signed statement.
Question: I am a spouse of a recently deceased retiree. My spouse retired from the Department of Public Safety; will I receive a DPS Widow’s benefit?
Answer: The survivorship benefit set forth in Conn. Gen. Stat. 5-150 applies only to State Troopers (i) who retired directly from DPS with a Tier 1 retirement plan, and (ii) who have not contributed towards social security.
If applicable, this will be set up as a monthly benefit, separate from the monthly pension.
Question: I am a spouse of a recently deceased retiree. My spouse retired from the State of Connecticut, but my spouse was not working at the Department of Public Safety when he or she retired. Will I receive a DPS Widow’s benefit?
Answer: No. This benefit applies only to retirees who transition directly into retirement from the Department of Public Safety. If the retiree was employed by another state agency before retiring, then the widow’s benefit does not apply.
Question: I submitted the completed paperwork to Retirement Payroll over two weeks ago. Whom may I contact to check the status of my payment?
Answer: You can contact the Retirement Payroll unit at (860) 702-3528, or at Osc.Retireepayrollunit@ct.gov.
SECTION III: MEDICAL AND DENTAL BENEFITS
The retiree’s eligibility for health benefits ends on the first day of the month following the retiree’s death. If the retiree had any dependents enrolled in medical or dental benefits, their benefits will be terminated at the end of the month in which the retiree died. Information about continuing benefits is provided below.
What to expect from Retirement health insurance unit following your report of a death:
When a retiree’s death is reported, the OSC’s Retirement Health Insurance unit will review the retiree’s record to determine if any enrolled dependents are eligible to continue receiving health benefits as part of a survivor’s pension annuity. If the dependents are not so eligible, a COBRA letter will be issued for non-Medicare medical and prescription and/or dental coverage. Coverage will be terminated at the end of the month following the retiree’s death. For those enrolled in Medicare, UnitedHealthcare will provide a termination notice following Medicare’s approval of their termination from coverage. If the dependents are eligible to continue receiving health benefits, the Retirement Health Insurance unit will take the actions described below.
Continuing Medical and Dental Benefits:
For those dependents who are eligible to continue health coverage as part of a survivor’s pension annuity, the Retirement Health Insurance unit will automatically establish continued benefits. In the event additional documentation is needed, the Retirement Health insurance unit will send a letter to the annuitant.
Retirement Health Insurance FAQ:
Question: I am a spouse of a recently deceased retiree. The retiree’s pension was a lifetime only benefit, will I be eligible to continue the retiree health benefits?
Answer: If the retiree elected a straight life annuity, state-sponsored health benefits terminate at the end of the month in which the retiree dies. The surviving spouse of such a retiree will be offered the option to enroll in COBRA benefits directly with the health insurance carrier for non-Medicare medical/prescription coverage and dental coverage. The spouse will also be provided a termination notice for Medicare Advantage coverage.
Question: I am a spouse of a recently deceased retiree, and I just sent in my annuitant paperwork to the Retirement Payroll unit. All my medical claims are being denied, and when I called the insurance company, they advised me that I am no longer enrolled in coverage. How long will it take to get my benefits reinstated? What should I do about the claims being denied?
Answer: If this has happened, please contact the Retirement Health Insurance unit directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860)702-3533. We will work with the health insurance carriers to ensure they re-establish your benefits immediately. All eligible benefits are effective, retroactive to the retiree’s death. Any previously denied claims may then be reprocessed for payment to your providers.
Question:I am the Contingent Annuitant for my deceased spouse’s benefit. Will my health benefits terminate if I remarry?
Answer: While your benefits will not automatically terminate, they will become quite costly. Once you remarry, you are no longer the qualified dependent of the deceased retiree, and you therefore are no longer eligible for a nontaxable health benefit. You may opt to continue coverage under your annuitant pension, but, if you do, you will be obligated to pay taxes on the fair market value of the benefit. The current fair market value of benefits is approximately $15,000 per year. Additionally, it is important to note, your new spouse is not eligible to enroll on coverage with you.
Question:I am the annuitant for my deceased spouse’s benefit. Can I enroll my children on the health benefits?
Answer: Yes. So long as your children were the children or lawful stepchildren of the deceased retiree, they may continue on your health benefits through age 19, for dental coverage, and through age 26, for medical and prescription coverage. Coverage may continue past age 19 or 26, if your children are certified disabled by your medical insurance carrier.
Question:I am the Contingent Annuitant for my deceased spouse’s benefit. We were both enrolled in Medicare coverage. Will I continue to be reimbursed for the Medicare B and Medicare D premiums?
Answer: Yes. Your Medicare premium reimbursement will follow you to your annuitant pension benefit. You will continue to need to report any increase in premiums for Part B and/or D annually, so that your reimbursement may be updated accordingly.
Question:I am eligible to continue my health benefits as an annuitant of my deceased spouse’s benefit. How will I pay for coverage?
Answer: Any associated costs for medical or dental coverage will automatically be deducted from your monthly annuity pension check. You will likely have missed one or month’s deductions while working to establish your annuity payment. Those retroactive deductions will automatically be calculated and will be deducted from your annuity pension payment in additional amounts of not more than $60 per month, for medical coverage, and $20 per month, for dental coverage.
SECTION IV: GROUP LIFE INSURANCE
For a retiree to have a group life insurance, paid-up policy, the retiree must have been enrolled in the group life insurance benefit as an active employee at the time of retirement. If the retiree is eligible for coverage, the Group Life Insurance unit will send the retiree a letter at the time of his or her retirement to advise them of the paid-up policy amount for group life insurance. This paid-up life insurance is calculated on the basis of (i) the retiree’s years of service as an active employee of the State of Connecticut and (ii) the amount of active life insurance benefit the retiree had while an active employee.
What to expect from group life insurance unit after you report a retiree’s death:
Upon notification of a retiree’s death, the Group Life Insurance unit will process the death claim benefit based on the information on file and the information received upon notification.
Question: How long does it typically take for the life insurance payment to be distributed?
Answer: The life insurance payment should be distributed about 5 to 7 business days after the claim is initiated by the Group Life unit to insurance company, currently UNUM life.
Question: Who can I call to check the status of the payment?
Answer: Please contact the Group Life Unit at 860-702-3537 for claim inquiries.
Question: Can the paid-up life insurance policy be used to pay a funeral home directly?
Answer: Yes. Please contact the Group Life Insurance unit at (860)702-3537 and provide the information of the chosen Funeral home to be included in the claim initiation.
Question: Will I need to pay taxes on the life insurance payment that I received as a result of the retiree’s death?
Answer: Generally, life insurance payments are not taxable. In some cases, when a benefit is payable to a trust, benefits may be deemed taxable. We recommend that you speak with your tax advisor to determine if, in your specific case, your benefit payment will be taxable.
Question: How is the Group Life Insurance payout check calculated if there are multiple beneficiaries?
Answer: Payment will be made to the beneficiaries on record at the time of the retiree’s death, and it will be split as required by the retiree’s beneficiary designation.
Question: I am executor of the estate of a deceased retiree. All beneficiaries on record have predeceased the retiree. What happens to the benefit?
Answer: If this is the case, contact the Group Life Insurance unit at (860)702-3537 and they will assist in completing and coordinating payment via a Preference Beneficiary affidavit. Payment will be prioritized to the deceased retiree’s next of kin.