Retirement Home

Survivor Benefits

This information is available for your spouse, surviving dependent or joint pensioner should you die. Your loved ones can use this information as a guide to initiating survivor benefits and updating contact information during what will be a difficult time.

UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS
Have a pension?
Retirees Log in to the online PG&E Pension Center or call the PG&E Pension Call Center at 1-800-700-0057.
Surviving spouses and joint pensioners Call the PG&E Pension Call Center at 1-800-700-0057.
Don’t have a pension—but have retiree medical or life insurance?
Retirees, surviving spouses and joint pensioners

Log in to your Mercer BenefitsCentral account: mypgebenefits.com.

Call the PG&E Benefits Service Center at 1-866-271-8144.

If you change your address and you don’t tell PG&E, your pension payments may be temporarily suspended until PG&E has your new address.

REPORT YOUR DEATH

Your spouse, family member or even a friend should call the PG&E Benefits Service Center at 1-866-271-8144 as soon as possible to report your death. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, except holidays, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time.

This is the first step to starting survivor benefits. PG&E will need a certified copy of the death certificate in order to pay out joint pension and medical benefits. The sooner your spouse or family member calls the PG&E Benefits Service Center, the sooner all benefits that are due can be paid out.

COLLECT LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS

Your spouse or other named beneficiary will need to call the PG&E Benefits Service Center at 1-866-271-8144 to collect life insurance benefits. Representatives are available Monday–Friday, 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific time.

The PG&E Benefits Service Center will need a separate certified copy of the death certificate to pay life insurance benefits.

It’s important that you keep your beneficiary designation up to date throughout your lifetime because information about your life insurance benefits can only be disclosed to your named beneficiary.

Make sure your beneficiary knows the life insurance benefit is due to him or her. Only your beneficiary can initiate the life insurance payment (except in the case of a minor beneficiary, when a legal guardian may initiate the payment).

IF YOU HAVE A JOINT PENSION

Start joint pension payments

The joint pension is not automatic. Your joint pensioner will need to complete and return the paperwork from the PG&E Pension Call Center to start receiving joint pension payments.

Your joint pensioner may not get the first check for several months. After you die, there will be a delay between the last payment of your pension benefit and the start of the new joint pension in your joint pensioner’s name.

How long the delay lasts depends on how soon your death is reported to the PG&E Benefits Service Center, and how soon your joint pensioner returns the necessary paperwork. This process typically takes one full month after the retiree’s death is reported.

The joint pension is payable as of the first of the month after you die—so your joint pensioner may get two or more months’ worth of pension payments in the first check.

Be prepared financially to cover living expenses

Your spouse will need to be prepared with enough savings to bridge at least one month between the end of your pension payments and the beginning of his or her own pension payments.

If you’re married, make sure your spouse understands how much of a continuing pension he or she will receive, if any.

  • If you elected a joint pension of less than 100%, your spouse will need to be prepared to live on a smaller pension payment.
  • If you elected a joint pension with someone other than your spouse, or a single life pension for your own lifetime only, your spouse will have no pension income after you die.

Be prepared financially to reimburse any pension overpayments

If your death is reported late in the month—after pension payroll has already run for the following month—any overpaid pension after your death must be returned to PG&E before additional benefits (including joint pension and medical) can be paid to your spouse or joint pensioner.

  • If you have direct deposit and your account is credited for the month following your death, PG&E will automatically deduct the overpaid pension from your account. If there are insufficient funds to cover the overpaid pension, your spouse or joint pensioner will need to return the overpayment to PG&E before PG&E can pay any additional benefits.
  • If you get paper checks and if a check is issued for the month following your death, a stop payment will be issued on the check and your spouse will be unable to cash it. If any checks are cashed after your death, your spouse or joint pensioner will need to return the overpayment before PG&E can pay any additional benefits.
IF YOUR SURVIVOR HAS MEDICAL COVERAGE THROUGH PG&E

Decide whether to keep medical coverage

If your survivor is enrolled as a dependent in PG&E-sponsored retiree medical coverage when you die, he or she needs to decide whether to keep it. Survivors have to pay the full monthly premium. See Medical Benefits for Surviving Dependents.

IF YOU HAVE THE RETIREE UTILITY DISCOUNT

No action is needed

Your spouse will continue to get the retiree utility discount for six months after your death. After six months, surviving spouses are no longer eligible for the discount. See Retiree Utility Discount.

SOCIAL SECURITY SURVIVORS’ BENEFITS

When your spouse or other family member dies, you may be eligible for Social Security survivors’ benefits. If your own benefit is higher than your family member’s benefit, you should take your own benefit.

Widows and widowers who are at full retirement age as defined by the Social Security Administration should qualify for 100 percent of their spouse’s benefit.

If you were born between 1943 and 1954, the full retirement age is 66. If you’re younger, benefits are graduated by age and work status.

I need to. . .

Find information about what I need to provide to get survivors’ benefits

Learn how to apply

Social Security: ssa.gov/survivors

Apply for survivors’ benefits

Social Security:
1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office
You can’t apply online