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COVID-19 Accidental Death Benefit

(July 10) The Teachers Retirement Service of the City of New York (TRS) has announced that New York State Law now provides an accidental (or "line-of-duty") death benefit to statutory beneficiaries of working and certain recently retired members who died due to COVID-19.

Eligible members must have reported to work outside the home on or after March 1, 2020, contracted COVID-19 within 45 days, and died due to COVID-19 before January 1, 2021. This accidental death benefit is also available for members who meet the above criteria and retired between March 1 and July 1, 2020.

In general, an accidental death benefit is an annual annuity equal to 50% of the wages earned during the member's last year of service, reduced by any ordinary death benefit already paid under TRS' Qualified Pension Plan. (Other options and restrictions may affect the benefit amount.)

The benefit is payable to statutory beneficiaries, in the following order:

1.    A spouse who has not renounced survivorship rights in a separation agreement, until death or remarriage; or

2.    Children, in equal shares until they reach age 25; or

3.    Dependent parents; or

4.    Any other person who qualified as a dependent on the member’s final federal income tax return, until that person reaches age 21.

TRS is currently developing applications that statutory beneficiaries may use to claim this benefit and will announce when they are available. For more information call TRS at (888) 869-2877.

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