Members have the right to choose what is called an “Option D beneficiary” upon becoming a member or at any point prior to retirement. Option D provides a designated beneficiary with an allowance for life. However, if the member does not designate an Option D beneficiary and if his or her eligible spouse does not elect to receive a lifetime allowance, the member’s accumulated deductions will be paid in a lump sum to the beneficiary or beneficiaries he or she has designated to receive a return of the amounts in the member’s annuity account, and no lifetime allowance will be paid. An exception to this is if a member dies survived by minor children, which will be discussed more fully below.
> Who may a Member Designate as his or her Option D Beneficiary?
Members may designate only one Option D beneficiary. The eligible beneficiaries are limited to a member’s spouse, the member’s former spouse (provided he or she has not remarried at the time of being designated as the Option D beneficiary), the member’s child, parent, or sibling. Even if not nominated, an eligible spouse may elect to receive this benefit upon the death of his or her spouse.
> May a Member Change his or her Option D Beneficiary Designation?
A member may change his or her Option D beneficiary designation by giving written notice on a prescribed form to his or her retirement board. Members are encouraged to revisit the selection whenever they wish, and particularly when major life events such as death or divorce occur. Changes in personal circumstances do not automatically alter the designation. The Option D beneficiary remains the same until a new beneficiary is designated in the prescribed manner on a prescribed form.