What is the New York State Employees Survivor’s Benefit Program?

Members of the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) become eligible for a death benefit after one year of service. However, if you’re a New York State employee (meaning that you work for the State of New York), your beneficiary can also receive a death benefit from the Survivor’s Benefit Program for State employees.


Eligibility Requirements for the Survivor’s Benefit Program

You don’t have to enroll in the program; your beneficiary is eligible to receive this benefit if, at the time of your death:

  • You were a full-time employee or officer of New York State
  • Your regularly scheduled work week equaled 20 or more hours (or your annual salary was at least 1,000 hours times the State minimum wage) and
  • Your salary was paid directly from State funds

There are also other eligibility requirements for the Survivor’s Benefit Program.

How Much Your Beneficiary Will Receive

This program supplements NYSLRS’ ordinary death benefit payment if that payment
is less than one-half of your annual salary, or if you don’t qualify for any ordinary death benefit payment.

The maximum amount payable to your beneficiary is $10,000; the minimum amount is $2,000. Both amounts include the ordinary death benefit paid by NYSLRS plus your survivor benefit. If your beneficiary is eligible to receive a NYSLRS ordinary death benefit of more than $10,000, this program will not provide any additional benefit.

Also, if NYSLRS pays an accidental death benefit, a $2,000 survivor’s benefit will also be paid to your beneficiary.

If you have questions about the program, read our publication, The Survivor’s Benefit Program for New York State Employees. If you have questions about any other retirement-related matters, please contact us.

5 thoughts on “What is the New York State Employees Survivor’s Benefit Program?

  1. Maureen Colon and Michael colon

    Husband and I are retired with nys from our schools. We do have life death benefit for each other. Wondering if need additional life insurance with an outsider. When one dies nys retirement gets contacted and that can be used for funeral cost

    1. NYSLRS Post author

      We’re sorry, but NYSLRS cannot provide financial advice. You may want to consult with a financial adviser.

      Whether you need life insurance may depend on your NYSLRS death benefit amount. You should have received a letter when you retired that provided you with that amount. If you need to request a reprint of that letter, please email our customer service representatives using our secure email form (see link below), and be sure to provide your current mailing address. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.



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