Employer Manual



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Employees who are active members automatically receive basic life insurance coverage and death benefits. If your employer offers optional life insurance, this beneficiary section also applies to that benefit.

To communicate how they want life insurance and death benefits paid, employees need to designate a beneficiary online or with a paper form.

Some employees will submit the form to you to forward to KPERS, while others will send the form directly to KPERS. Either way is okay. But only forms received at our office are valid.

  1. Basic life insurance (150% of employee's annual salary)
  2. Any optional life insurance
  3. Returned account balance or possibly a monthly benefit for spouse

Who can employees name as beneficiary?

  • A living person
  • A trust
  • Their estate
  • Any combination of these options

If an employee chooses more than one beneficiary, each will share the benefit equally.

What is a primary beneficiary?

A primary beneficiary is a person, trust or estate named by a member to receive benefits after his or her death.

What is a contingent beneficiary?

A contingent beneficiary receives benefits if no primary beneficiary is living when a member dies. A contingent beneficiary will receive benefits only if no primary beneficiary survives the member.

How to name a trust

To name a trust as beneficiary, the employee provides the name of the trust (e.g., Employee Name, Trust #1) on the “Name” line of the form. To name an estate, the employee writes “Estate of (Employee Name)” or “My Estate.”

Note: Employees can name another primary or contingent beneficiary in addition to an estate or a trust, and each will share the benefit equally.

Churches and other charitable organizations

Churches or other charitable organizations cannot be directly named as KPERS beneficiaries. Employees can only name a person, a trust or an estate. Encourage employees to consult an estate planner if they would like to make provisions for these types of organizations after their death.

Important thing to know about the beneficiary paper form

  • KPERS maintains the official designation. You should not keep copies.* You can view an employee’s beneficiaries on the EWP (members can view in their online account).
  • KPERS cannot accept a form completed in pencil.
  • A beneficiary's full name, SSN and date of birth are critical so we can find the person in the future, maybe many years after the designation.
  • KPERS cannot accept a form with white-out or cross-through marks in the beneficiary name.
  • Each form must be signed and witnessed. And the signature dates for the member and witness must match.
  • The witness must be disinterested party and not one of the beneficiaries.

*Except Kansas Board of Regents members with KPERS life insurance and no other KPERS benefits.

It is important that employees review their beneficiary designations whenever they have a significant life event.

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Retirement
  • Death in Family
  • Leaving Employment
  • Birth or adoption in the family

Instead of receiving the account balance when a member dies, a spouse can receive a monthly benefit for life if the member meets certain criteria. To be eligible, the member must designate the spouse as sole primary beneficiary for retirement benefits.

Situation #1.
If member was eligible to retire, spouse begins receiving a monthly benefit immediately.

Situation #2.
If member was not yet eligible to retire but had ten years (5 years for KPERS 3) of service, spouse begins receiving a monthly benefit when member would have reached age 55. Years of service are required, not just vesting.

Note: A member can name contingent beneficiaries or separate beneficiaries for life insurance without affecting the surviving spouse benefit option. Inactive members are also eligible for this benefit.

Employer Employee
Login to EWP Login to KPERS online account
Quick Lookup on home page or Look Up under Employee Info Click Beneficiaries on left
Click SSN to open record To change beneficiary:
Employee Elections tab Click Click here to change your beneficiary in orange box, or use the paper form

Kansas statute does not allow KPERS to disclose employee information like beneficiary designation to anyone other than the employee. The one exception is if the employee has died, and then only to the actual beneficiary.

KPERS asks all members to name a beneficiary. If a member doesn't, KPERS follows a line of descendants by Kansas law.

  • Spouse
  • Dependent* children
  • Dependent* parents
  • Non-dependent children
  • Non-dependent parents
  • Estate of the deceased member

*A dependent is a parent or child who relies on the member for at least half of his or her support.

If a member names a minor child as a beneficiary, lump-sum benefit amounts less than $10,000 will be paid out under the Kansas Uniform Transfer to Minors Act. KPERS will send the guardian or custodian a form to complete and the benefit is paid to that individual on behalf of the minor. If the benefit is $10,000 or more, Kansas law requires a conservator be appointed to receive the benefit on the child’s behalf.

It’s important for employees going through a divorce to check their beneficiaries. Divorce does not cancel a beneficiary designation, even if the member remarries. To remove an ex-spouse as a beneficiary, members need to complete a new designation.

If a member has qualified domestic relations order, KPERS will only accept forms that comply with the QDRO.

Q. Why can't my beneficiary witness my signature?

A. The witness must be a disinterested party.

Q. Do the dates next to the member and witness signatures on the beneficiary form have to be the same date?

A. Yes. If the dates are not the same, you'll need to complete a new form.

Q. Can I name my church or another charitable organization as a beneficiary?

A. No. You can only name a person, a trust or an estate.

Q. Should I name the trustee of my trust as the beneficiary?

A. No. You should name the trust, not the trustee. If you name a trust as beneficiary, provide the name and address (e.g. John Doe Trust #1, Sixth National Bank, Collingwood, Kansas 67834).

Q. Can I name a funeral home as my beneficiary?

A. No. ONLY retired members can name a funeral home, for the $4,000 death benefit.