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It’s hard to think about your own funeral. But planning ahead can avoid a lot of stress when the time comes. As a KPERS member, you have a retiree death benefit that can help your loved ones pay for funeral expenses.
Below is a summary of information about current KPERS Death Benefits. We have also provided a printable copy of the KPERS Beneficiary Form & Information, available by clicking the red icon on the right side of this page. You can also Contact Us, and we will mail you a Beneficiary Form & Information.
After completing the KPERS Beneficiary Form, you can mail it directly to KPERS, or you can bring it to the funeral home, and we will mail it for you.
Lump-Sum Death Beneft
When you die, KPERS pays a $4,000 lump-sum death benefit to your beneficiary. You can name a person, estate, trust or a funeral establishment to receive your benefit. If you want your death benefit used for funeral expenses, you can:
Your beneficiary can use the benefit at funeral establishments and crematories. But beneficiaries aren’t required to use the benefit to pay for funeral expenses. If you have more than one beneficiary, one can assign his or her share while the others keep theirs.
If you designate a funeral establishment, you’ll also want to name a primary beneficiary to receive any remaining contributions and interest you may have in your account when you die. Only the $4,000 death benefit can be paid to a funeral establishment.
Paying the Taxes
In general, the death benefit is taxable as federal income, but not Kansas income. How a funeral establishment receives the benefit determines who pays the taxes.
If you name a funeral establishment, it receives the full $4,000 benefit and pays the taxes. KPERS will send the funeral establishment a 1099-R form the next January.
If your beneficiary receives it, he or she pays taxes. If your beneficiary assigns the benefit to a funeral establishment, he or she still pays the taxes. KPERS will automatically withhold 20% for federal taxes. Your beneficiary will receive a 1099-R form the next January.
Applying for the Death Benefit
KPERS does not pay the death benefit automatically. Your beneficiary should contact KPERS to receive an application when the time comes. Be sure to keep your beneficiaries up-to-date. You can make changes any time in your kpers.org account or complete a new Designation of Beneficiary - Retired (KPERS-7/99R) form. KPERS must have any beneficiary designations before your death for the change to be effective. If you don’t name a beneficiary, KPERS must follow the line of descendants by Kansas law.