In addition to retirement benefits, every LAGERS member is also covered by LAGERS disability benefits.
What is a LAGERS Disability?
You’re considered to be ‘disabled’ if you’re totally and permanently physically or mentally unable to perform your current job. Whether or not a benefit is payable and how any applicable benefit is calculated, depends upon the nature of your disability and your LAGERS status at that time.
Disability Benefits are an important part of your overall benefits package. Download our “Disability Benefits Explained” fact sheet for more information on the process.
You’re eligible for a non-duty disability benefit if you’re vested and become totally and permanently disabled from non-occupational causes which prevent you from performing your current job. The monthly benefit would be calculated in the same manner as a normal retirement, based upon salary and service credit at the time of disability, with no reduction for age.
If you become totally and permanently disabled from job-related causes, you may be eligible for a duty disability benefit regardless of vesting status. Your benefit would be calculated in the same manner as a normal retirement using the final average salary at the time of disability and service credit you would have earned to age 60.
The temporary benefits payable under the LT (life and temporary) benefit plans do not apply to disability retirements.
Applying for a Disability Benefit
All disability applications must be received within one year of the date of disability.
A medical committee make a recommendation to the LAGERS disability committee based on their findings. All applications for Disability Retirements are approved by LAGERS Board of Trustees.
If you are approved for and begin receiving a LAGERS disability benefit, continuing medical examinations are required once per year for the first five years of the disability and once every three years thereafter (until normal retirement age) to verify that your disability still exists.
Is my LAGERS monthly benefit considered a marital asset that can be divided if I get divorced?
Currently, there is no state statute that dictates your benefit must be considered an asset subject to divorce negotiations. That determination is made by the family court in each case.
Can my ex-spouse receive a monthly benefit directly from LAGERS?
No. Under applicable law, including Missouri State Statute RSMo 70.695 and 434.301, a LAGERS accrued benefit is not subject to execution, garnishment, attachment, bankruptcy, or other process of law. This means that LAGERS is also not subject to Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO’s). If family court determines your LAGERS benefit is divisible as a marital asset, it is solely your responsibility to forward the portion determined by the family court to your former spouse. The former spouse cannot begin receiving his or her portion until you begin to draw your monthly benefit. In any case, LAGERS will only pay to you. The only exception to this is if you are subject to child support deductions as ordered by a Court.
Will my ex-spouse receive surviving spouse benefits if I happen to pass way before retiring?
If you, as an active member of LAGERS, are divorced, your ex-spouse is no longer considered a “surviving spouse” under Section 70.661, and the ex-spouse is not eligible for surviving spouse benefits. Additionally, if, prior to the divorce, you designate your spouse as the beneficiary to receive any remaining accumulated contributions in your LAGERS account, the beneficiary designation will be automatically revoked by operation of Section 461.051 R.S.Mo. However, following the divorce, an ex-spouse, or any other person, may be designated as the beneficiary to receive any remaining accumulated contributions in your LAGERS account under Section 70.661.5.
How is the value of my LAGERS benefit determined?
LAGERS benefits are not based on an account balance, rather, they are based on your earned wages and the time you have worked for a LAGERS member employer. The amount the ex-spouse is eligible to receive is determined by family court and could be a dollar amount, percentage, or some other figure. LAGERS can provide a benefit estimate* and / or an annual benefit statement* upon request to assist in calculating the value of your monthly benefit, but LAGERS does not provide present value calculations.
*A benefit estimate or benefit statement are only available for LAGERS members or via appropriate Court order.
What happens if I elect a spousal retirement payout option, and then I get a divorce?
When you elect a payout option for retirement, the payout option that is selected is irrevocable and cannot be changed. The spouse who is elected under Options A or B will always remain the beneficiary even if a divorce occurs. If you retire, elect Option A or B, divorce, and re-marry, your previous spouse will still be the beneficiary under Option A or B.
What happens if I elect Option C and get divorced?
Unlike Option A or B, Option C allows you (the retiree) to change the beneficiary throughout retirement.
What if my divorce is filed in a different state?
LAGERS benefits are created by Missouri law. Accordingly, even if you live in another state, or the divorce action is filed in another state, Missouri law will control how LAGERS benefits may be treated in the divorce action.
Do I need to submit any forms to LAGERS after the divorce is final?
LAGERS does not require that you submit any forms.
Do I need to update my beneficiaries after the divorce is final?
It is not a requirement to update your beneficiaries, but it is strongly recommended that you do. You can change your beneficiaries at any time by downloading the “Change of Beneficiary” form from the LAGERS website and sending it to the LAGERS office – Fax 573-636-9671 or mail 701 W. Main St. Jefferson City, MO 65102 or by using the myLAGERS web portal.
If you have further questions, please contact Benefits Officer, Tammy Burlbaw Phone: 573-632-6363 or Toll Free: 1-800-447-4334 Ext: 6363
The contents of this page are not intended to and should not be considered legal advice. This information does not amend or overrule any applicable statute or administrative rule. In the event of conflict, the applicable statute or administrative rule will prevail. If you have questions regarding your specific legal situation, please contact your personal legal counsel.
It is important to notify the LAGERS office should a member or beneficiary pass away to ensure that maximum benefits have been paid.
Passing of a Retired Member
Upon written notification to the LAGERS office of a member’s passing, an eligible beneficiary may begin receiving benefits.
If the Deceased Selected the Life Option:
No monthly benefit is payable to any beneficiary, however, if any of the deceased member’s contributions remain, the balance will be payable to the member’s designated beneficiary or estate.
If the Deceased Selected Option A or B:
The beneficiary who was originally designated at the time of retirement may notify the LAGERS office to initiate his or her monthly benefit. This benefit is payable for the beneficiary’s lifetime.
If the member’s current spouse is different from the spouse originally designated at retirement, only the original spouse/beneficiary is entitled to a monthly benefit.
If the Deceased Selected Option C:
Current beneficiary(ies) may be entitled to the remaining monthly benefits until 120 months’ worth of payments are made between the member and the beneficiary(ies). If more than 120 months’ worth of payments was made to the member, no monthly benefit will be payable to any beneficiary. However, if any of the deceased member’s contributions remain, the balance will be payable to the member’s designated beneficiary or estate.
Passing of a Beneficiary
I Elected the Life Option…
Under the Life Payout Option, your beneficiary will only receive payment should you pass away and still have member contributions remaining in the system. This beneficiary can be changed at any time during your retirement.
I Elected Option A or Option B…
If you retired after September 1, 1992 and elected either Option A or B, you are covered under LAGERS Pop-Up Provision. In the event that your beneficiary predeceases you, this provision allows you to remove the Option A or B reduction and ‘pop up’ to 100% of your Life Option amount. You must notify the LAGERS office upon the death of your beneficiary to enact the Pop Up Provision.
Once enacted, you are locked into the Life Option and may not designate a new beneficiary under Option A or B. You may designate a new beneficiary for any remaining contributions you may still have remaining in the system (if applicable).
I Elected Option C…
If you elected Option C, you may designate a new beneficiary(ies) at any time. Should your beneficiary predecease you, you may designate a new primary beneficiary. If no new designation is made, in the event of your death, any remaining payments would be made to your contingent beneficiary. If you have no living beneficiaries at the time of your death, remaining payments (if any) would be made to your estate.
LAGERS provides survivor benefits for you to help provide financial security for a your dependents in the event of death.
Whether or not a benefit is payable and how any applicable benefit is calculated depends on the nature of the death and your LAGERS status at the time of death.
If you’re vested in LAGERS, no longer working for a LAGERS employer, and pass away:
Your spouse would be eligible to receive a survivor benefit if he or she had been married to you for at least two years prior to the your death. The benefit would be payable beginning on the date when you would have attained your normal retirement age, or the first of the month following the date of death, whichever is later.
The benefit would be calculated based on your service credit and final average salary at time of termination from LAGERS employment, and the Option A retirement payment option.
If you’re vested in LAGERS, currently working for a LAGERS employer, and die as a result of a non-duty-related injury or illness:
Your spouse will be eligible to receive a survivor benefit if he or she had been married to you for at least two years prior to the member’s death. The two year requirement is waived if your death was an accident.
The benefit will be payable on the first day of the month following your death, and calculated based on your service credit and final average salary at time of death, and the Option A retirement payment option.
If you’re currently working for a LAGERS employer and die as a result of a duty/job-related injury or illness:
Your spouse would be eligible to receive a survivor benefit if he or she was married to you at the onset of your injury or illness that caused your death. The benefit will be payable on the first day of the month following your death, and calculated based on the amount of service credit you would have attained had you worked to age 60, the final average salary at time of death, and the Option A retirement payment option.
For a duty/job-related death, you don’t need to be vested for your survivors to receive a benefit.
In all cases, a pre-retirement survivor’s benefit is payable for the life of the surviving spouse.
Additional benefits may be payable to your dependents, if the member was currently working for a LAGERS employer at the time of their death, and surviving spouse benefits are not payable.
A child is considered to be ‘dependent’ until death, marriage, or attainment of age eighteen, whichever occurs first. The age eighteen maximum shall be extended as long as the child is uninterruptedly a full-time student at an accredited secondary school, college, or university up to age twenty three. Dependent child benefits are calculated as an equal share of sixty percent of the deceased member’s monthly benefit.
The temporary allowances payable under any of the LT (life and temporary) benefit plans do not apply to survivor’s benefits.
When there is neither a surviving spouse, nor dependent children, no monthly survivor benefit is payable. If, however, you made contributions to the LAGERS system, and there is no surviving spouse or dependent children, any of your remaining contributions plus interest would be refunded to your named beneficiary or estate.
Why do you ask for my beneficiaries?
State law dictates who will be eligible to receive a survivor benefit from LAGERS regardless of who you have listed as your beneficiary(ies). In the event that there is no monthly survivor benefit payable, LAGERS will pay to your beneficiary of record any contributions (if applicable) you have remaining in the system, plus interest.