2010 Wisconsin Code
Chapter 40. Public employee trust fund.
40.71 Death benefit eligibility.


40.71 Death benefit eligibility. The following described persons are entitled to death benefits from the Wisconsin retirement system, in the form and at the times specified:


(1) The beneficiary of any participant or of any annuitant on the date of death of the participant or annuitant. For purposes of this subsection:


(a) A participant is deemed a participating employee on the date of death even though the participant is then an applicant for a retirement or disability annuity, except as provided by s. 40.63 (8) (h), if the participant's application was received by the board within 30 days after the participant ceased to be a participating employee and the participant would have been entitled to the annuity had the participant lived.


(b) If the date of death is less than one year after the last day for which earnings were paid, a participant is deemed a participating employee on leave of absence, notwithstanding the fact that no formal leave of absence is in effect, if the participating employer for which the participant last performed services as a participating employee has not filed notice of the termination of employment prior to the employee's death.

40.71 - ANNOT.

Cross Reference: See also s. ETF 20.37, Wis. adm. code.


(c) If the death of a participating employee on leave of absence, other than a leave for purposes of military service, arises from employment by any employer other than a participating employer, employment is deemed to have terminated and the participant shall not be considered a participating employee on the date of his or her death.


(d) Every participant is deemed an annuitant immediately upon the effective date of the participant's annuity, or the date the application is received by the department if the participant is living on that date, whichever is later.


(e) Any annuitant whose annuity is terminated shall cease to be an annuitant as of the last day of the month preceding the last day on which the annuity is payable.


(2) Any death benefit may be paid as a beneficiary annuity, subject to s. 40.73 (3), or as a single cash sum as specified by the beneficiary in the application for the death benefit unless the participant prohibited payment of a single cash sum in a written notice received by the department prior to the participant's death. A prohibition on payment of a single cash sum shall not be effective if the monthly amount of the annuity would be less than the amount determined under s. 40.25 (1) (a) or if the beneficiary is the participant's estate or a trust in which the beneficiary has a beneficial interest.


(3) Whenever any death benefit is payable in a single cash sum, it shall be paid only after receipt by the department of the following:


(a) A copy of the death certificate of the participant or annuitant;


(b) A written application of the beneficiary for the benefit; and


(c) Any additional evidence deemed necessary or desirable by the department.

40.71 - ANNOT.

History: 1981 c. 96; 1987 a. 309.

40.71 - ANNOT.

Cross Reference: See also s. ETF 20.37, Wis. adm. code.

40.71 - ANNOT.

Nothing in s. 40.73 creates an entitlement in the beneficiary to the annuity-value single cash sum benefit as of the date of death even though the value of the single cash sum benefit is calculated as of the date of death. A beneficiary does not acquire a property interest in a single cash sum death benefit under s. 40.73 (1) (c) until the beneficiary applies for a death benefit as required by sub. (3). Fazio v. Department of Employee Trust Funds, 2006 WI 7, 287 Wis. 2d 106, 708 N.W.2d 326, 04-0064.

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