(a) Notwithstanding Section 31481 or 31760.1, upon the death of any member after retirement for service or non-service-connected disability from a retirement system established in a county pursuant to this chapter, 60 percent of his or her retirement allowance, if not modified in accordance with one of the optional settlements specified in this article, shall be continued to his or her surviving spouse for life. If there is no surviving spouse entitled to an allowance under this section or if she or he dies before every child of the deceased member attains the age of 18 years, then the allowance that the surviving spouse would have received had he or she lived, shall be paid to his or her child or children under that age collectively, to continue until each child dies or attains that age. However, no child may receive any allowance after marrying or attaining the age of 18 years.
(b) No allowance may be paid under this section to a surviving spouse unless he or she was married to the member at least two years prior to the date of death and has attained the age of 55 years on or prior to the date of death.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, the benefits otherwise payable to the children of the member shall be paid to the children through the age of 21 years if the children remain unmarried and are regularly enrolled as full-time students in an accredited school, as determined by the board.
(d) If at the death of any retired member there is no surviving spouse or minor children eligible for the 60-percent continuance provided in this section and the total retirement allowance income received by the retired member during his or her lifetime did not equal or exceed his or her accumulated normal contributions, the retired member’s designated beneficiary shall be paid an amount equal to the excess of his or her accumulated normal contributions over his or her total retirement allowance income.
(e) No allowance may be paid pursuant to this section to any person who is entitled to an allowance pursuant to Section 31760.1.
(f) The superseding rights pursuant to this section do not affect benefits payable to a named beneficiary as provided under Section 31789, 31789.01, 31789.1, 31789.12, 31789.13, 31789.2, 31789.3, 31789.5, or 31790.
(g) This section is not applicable in any county until the board of retirement, by resolution adopted by a majority vote, makes this section applicable in the county. The board’s resolution may designate a date, which may be prior or subsequent to the date of the resolution, as of which the resolution and this section shall be operative in the county.
(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 875, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2003.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018