(a) Notwithstanding Section 31760 and in lieu of the retirement allowance and the continuing or survivor allowance, if any, otherwise payable to a retired member and his or her surviving spouse pursuant to this article, a member may elect in writing to have the actuarial equivalent of these benefits, as of the date of retirement, applied to a lesser amount payable throughout the retired member’s life, and to an increased survivor allowance as approved by the board, upon the advice of the actuary, that, upon the death of the retired member, shall be continued throughout the life of and paid to his or her surviving spouse. To qualify for benefits under this section, the surviving spouse must be married to the member at least one year prior to the date of retirement. If there is no surviving spouse entitled to this allowance, or if the surviving spouse dies before every child of the deceased retired member, including every stepchild and adopted child, attains the age of 18 years, then the increased survivor allowance that the spouse would have received had he or she survived shall be paid to the deceased retired member’s child or children under the age of 18 years. If the increased survivor allowance is to be paid to surviving children, it shall be divided among the children in equal shares. However, the right of any child to share in the allowance shall cease upon his or her death, marriage, or attaining the age of 18 years.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, the allowance otherwise payable to the children of the deceased retired member shall be paid through the age of 21 years if the children remain unmarried and are regularly enrolled as full-time students in any accredited school as determined by the board.
(c) The election under this section may not, in the opinion of the board and the actuary, place any additional burden upon the retirement system. If a member elects to be subject to this section, the retirement allowance that would otherwise be payable to the member shall be reduced by the additional cost to the system resulting from the increased survivor allowance. The actuarial cost of the survivor allowance payable under this section shall be calculated taking into account the life expectancy of the member’s surviving spouse.
(d) This section is only applicable to Los Angeles County and is not operative unless and until the board of supervisors of the county elects, by resolution adopted by a majority vote, to make this section operative in the county. This section applies only to those members who retire after the operative date of this section.
(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 152, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2005. Section conditionally operative by its own provisions.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018