Death Benefits

Direct Link to CalPERS Death Benefits web page.

Death Benefits


  • CalPERS members are eligible for various death benefits.
  • Death benefits range from a simple return of contributions (plus interest) to a monthly allowance.
  • Each member’s death benefits can vary significantly, depending on circumstances, data, and employer contract.
  • You can review or change your beneficiaries on my|CalPERS.

Benefits Payable

Many factors affect death benefits, so it’s not possible to know exactly what is payable until we receive and review all of the required documents after a death is reported

The Application Process

This information will assist you when applying for benefits

Beneficiary Designation Form

Special Power of Attorney

A CalPERS special power of attorney allows you to designate a representative or agent, known as your attorney-in-fact, to conduct your retirement affairs. Should you become unable to act on your own behalf, your designated attorney-in-fact will be able to perform important duties concerning your CalPERS business, such as:

  • Address changes
  • Federal or state tax withholding elections
  • Retirement benefit elections

The CalPERS special power of attorney is specifically designed for use by active and retired CalPERS members and beneficiaries. You may already have a power of attorney set up through another resource; however, it may not address your CalPERS retirement benefits.

For more information, review CalPERS Special Power of Attorney (PUB 30) (PDF).


Survivors Benefit Checklist
Fallen Firefighters Checklist
CPF Firevision — Firefighter Survivor Benefits

California Survivor Benefits

Survivor BenefitsUpdated April 2015


» See Pension Plan Information Below

Contract Pilots: Legislation signed by the Governor on 9/11/2002 requires the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to pay a one-time benefit to eligible survivors of contract pilots who die while performing duties under contract to the Department. The amount is equal to what the survivor would receive if the pilot were covered by the federal Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Act. The eligible survivors also receive an amount determined by the Department to commensurate with the death benefit payable to a mid-career firefighter employed by the Department who died in the line of duty.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
1416 9th Street
P.O. Box 944246
Sacramento, CA 94244-2460
Phone: (916) 653-5123

Line-of-Duty Death Resources

As you plan for the future, you’ll want to think about what your family would need if you should die now.
Social Security can help your family if you have earned enough Social Security credits through your work.

Survivors Planner: Protection You and Your Family Can Count On

Most of us don’t like to talk about death or even think about it. But wouldn’t you feel better knowing that, if you or your spouse were no longer living, Social Security would help take care of your family?

If you are working and paying into Social Security, some of the taxes you pay go toward survivors insurance. In fact, if you currently have life insurance, the value of your private policy is probably less than the value of the survivors insurance you have under Social Security.

Your family is protected when you die. Your spouse, children, and parents could be eligible for benefits based on your earnings. Planning For Your Survivors explains how you earn benefits and who qualifies for them.

You are protected when your spouse, parent, or adult child dies. You and your family could be eligible for benefits based on the earnings of the deceased. If You Are The Survivor explains how survivors benefits may be available to you and your family.

To learn how to apply for survivors benefits, what documents you’ll need when you apply, and how to report a death, visit How You Apply For Survivors Benefits.

For more information, please read:

General Information

Covered Services

The Group Legal Services Insurance Plan is a voluntary, employee-paid plan that provides comprehensive legal coverage. It is designed to meet the most common personal legal needs of an individual and their family. Covered services include:

100% Paid-in-Full Coverage for in-office Consultation

The Plan provides 100% paid-in-full coverage for an in-office consultation with an attorney. Once you have enrolled in the Plan, you’ll receive a directory of attorneys and a listing of areas of law in which they specialize. If you need an office consultation, you can call one of the more than 500 attorneys who belong to the Plan’s California attorney network. When you use one of these qualified attorneys, the hourly fees the attorney charges will be paid-in-full by the Plan for the covered services listed below. The Plan does not provide coverage for certain fees such as filing fees, reporters’ fees, expert witness fees and other related expenses. Plan members also have the flexibility of using an attorney who is not part of the network. In this case, you would be reimbursed after filing a claim for legal fees paid up to a specified dollar limit. The Plan’s covered services include, but are not limited to:

  • Will preparation
  • Domestic matters (divorce, separation, annulment)
  • Bankruptcy proceedings
  • Consumer protection
  • Real estate transactions
  • Defense of criminal misdemeanors
  • Civil actions

You should refer to the Plan Flyer for a more detailed description of the covered services.