A Glaring Inequity: Survivor Benefits

By (Virginia Young/Jefferson City Bureau | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 26, 1997 | Go to article overview

A Glaring Inequity: Survivor Benefits


(Virginia Young/Jefferson City Bureau, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Looking for a clerk's job in state government? First, try the Department of Conservation or the Department of Transportation.

Typing and filing duties probably won't vary from other state departments. But retirement benefits do.

Conservation and transportation retirees get a free survivor benefit. That means they don't have to reduce their own pension benefits to cover a spouse who outlives them. The surviving spouse automatically draws 50 percent of the benefit the retiree was getting. Other groups that receive free survivor benefits include: Statewide elected officials and legislators. Judges and administrative law judges. The Highway Patrol and the Water Patrol. That leaves out most state workers, whose retirement checks are reduced if they want survivor benefits. As of last June, 2,740 state retirees were getting reduced benefits because they opted for 50 percent survivor benefits. Officials cite that disparity as the most glaring inequity in the state's retirement systems. …

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