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.

The Survivor Guide includes a printable checklist of important information survivors need to know about your benefits.

UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS

Whether you’re a retiree, surviving spouse or pension beneficiary, it’s important that you stay in touch with PG&E to make sure you get your benefits.

The PG&E Pension Service Center handles address updates for the following benefits for all retirees and survivors—even if you don’t have a pension:

  • Pension
  • Retiree medical
  • Postretirement life insurance

To update your address:

Log in to your PG&E PensionConnect account at myPensionConnect.com
OR
Call the PG&E Pension Service Center at 1-800-700-0057

Fidelity handles address updates for the 401(k) account. Log in to your NetBenefits account at 401k.com or call 1-877-743-4015.

If you don’t update your address

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. If your mail is returned as undeliverable or checks are uncashed, PG&E will suspend payments or lock the record until you confirm the correct address.

Home and alternate mailing addresses

You can maintain two types of addresses with the PG&E Pension Service Center.

Home and Alternate Addresses

REPORT YOUR DEATH

Your spouse, family member or the executor of your estate will need to make several calls as soon as possible:

Call the PG&E Pension Service Center at 1-800-700-0057 to report your death even if you don’t have a pension beneficiary. The PG&E Pension Service Center will need to stop your pension payments and start any joint payments, if applicable. Representatives are available Monday–Friday except holidays, 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific time (voicemail is available after hours).

Call the PG&E Benefits Service Center at 1-866-271-8144 to report your death, tell them you no longer need retiree medical coverage and initiate the life insurance benefit. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, except holidays, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time.

Call Fidelity at 1-877-743-4015 to report your death and learn about disbursement options for your 401(k) balance.

Reporting your death is the first step to starting survivor benefits. PG&E will need certified copies of the death certificate in order to pay out any benefits that are due. The sooner your spouse, family member or executor reports your death, the sooner any 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 your beneficiary. 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 pension beneficiary will need to complete and return the paperwork from the PG&E Pension Service Center to start receiving joint pension payments.

Your pension beneficiary 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 pension beneficiary’s name.

How long the delay lasts depends on how soon your death is reported to the PG&E Pension Service Center, and how soon your pension beneficiary 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 pension beneficiary 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 your spouse’s own pension payments.

Make sure your spouse understands how much of a continuing pension they 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.

  • If you have direct deposit and your account is credited for the month following your death, PG&E will try to reclaim it from the bank account. If there are insufficient funds to cover the overpaid pension, the executor of your estate will need to return the overpayment to PG&E.
  • 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, the executor of your estate will need to return the overpayment to PG&E.
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, your survivor needs to decide whether to keep PG&E-sponsored coverage. Survivors have to pay the full monthly premium for PG&E-sponsored medical coverage. Survivors who drop PG&E-sponsored medical coverage won’t be eligible to re-enroll in a PG&E-sponsored plan in the future.

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