The death of a spouse or a loved one is a very traumatic event. Dealing with your own feelings as well as those of the family in addition to making all the necessary arrangements can result in overlooked details and additional confusion.

NJEA/NJREA has created a checklist designed to help you make sense of your rights and responsibilities during this difficult time. The suggestions are general and should be adapted to your particular situation through family conversations and conferences with legal and/or financial advisors.

Many retirees and beneficiaries also inquire about the steps that should be taken to expedite the processing of the death benefits. Upon the death of a retired member or his or her beneficiary, the New Jersey Division of Pensions should be notified as soon as possible by calling the Office of Client Services at 609-292-7524. The individual reporting the death should be able to provide the following:

  • the full name of the deceased;
  • the deceased’s Social Security, pension membership, or retirement number;
  • date of death; and
  • the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the person handling the deceased’s affairs.

Once a member’s death is reported, the Division of Pensions reviews the member’s account to determine what benefits, if any, are due. The Division of Pensions informs the named beneficiary or beneficiaries by letter of the benefits payable and sends the necessary claim forms.

The processing time for paying a claim depends entirely upon when the Division of Pensions receives the following items from the beneficiary:

  • a certified death certificate; a photocopy is not acceptable;
  • all claim forms, properly completed; and
  • any uncashed pension checks sent to a deceased retiree (any monies due will be reissued to the beneficiaries or the estate).

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