Qualified Survivors FAQs

Overview

Qualified Survivors FAQ

General Information

  1. Who qualifies as a survivor to receive a pension?

Qualified Spouse – must be legally married to the member at the time of death and meet one of the following requirements:

  • For a service-connected death, must be married as of the member’s death; or
  • For a nonservice-connected death, must be married to the member at least one year prior to the members death.

Qualified Domestic Partner – must be registered as a Domestic Partner with LAFPP (or the State of California) and meet one of the following requirements:

  • For a service-connected death, must be declared/certified as of the member’s death; or
  • For a nonservice-connected death, must be declared/certified at least one year prior to the members death.

Qualified Minor Child - He/She is the child or adopted child of the member, not married and under the age of 18 (or 22 if in school full time).

Qualified Dependent Child - He/She is the child or adopted child of the member and declared disabled from earning a living prior to age 21. If the disability ends, the pension ceases.

Qualified Dependent Parents - He/She is the natural parent of the member and at least one-half of his/her necessary living expenses have ben covered by the member for a least one year prior to the members death. Parent receives the benefit until he/she is able to afford his/her living expenses without the Survivor Pension. 

  1. Is a survivor pension lifelong?

    Qualified Spouse/Domestic Partner have a lifelong pension. Qualified Minor Children will receive the survivor pension until they reach the age of 18 (or 22 if they are full-time students). Qualified Dependent Child will receive the survivor pension until if/when the disability ends. Qualified Dependent Parent will receive a survivor pension until if/when the member’s parent can afford his/her own expenses without the survivor pension.
     
  2. What if I’m a Qualified Spouse/Domestic Partner and have Qualified Children with the Member?

    Benefits for Qualified Children are paid in addition to benefits paid to a Qualified Spouse/Domestic Partner.

    1 child – an additional 25% of the Qualified Spouse/Domestic Partner Benefit
    2 children – an additional 40% of the Qualified Spouse/Domestic Partner Benefit
    3 or more children – an additional 50% of the Qualified Spouse/Domestic Partner benefit​

    Note: Total benefit paid to the Qualified Spouse/Domestic Partner and Qualified Children may not exceed 100% of the member’s pension base, plus applicable COLA.
     
  3. Will my stepchild(ren) qualify as a Qualified Child(ren)?

    Stepchild(ren) will only qualify as a Qualified Child(ren) if the member adopts the stepchild(ren).

Health Subsidies and Medicare Requirements

  1. How do I qualify for a subsidy if I am a surviving spouse/domestic partner?

    If you are currently receiving a qualified surviving spouse/domestic partner pension payment from us, you are eligible for a health subsidy if you meet the following qualifications:
    • You were married to the member at least one year prior to their retirement or married to a member who died prior to retirement.
    • You must be in a Board-approved health plan (one offered by Fire Relief, Police Relief, UFLAC or Fire & Police Pensions) or participate in the Health Insurance Premium Reimbursement Program.
    • Your spouse/domestic partner must have had at least 10 years of service.
    • Your spouse/domestic partner must have been receiving, or been eligible to receive, a health subsidy at the time of death; or, you will be eligible when your spouse/domestic partner would have been 55 years old.

      Note: If you receive a survivor benefit due to a purchase made by the member under the Survivor Benefit Purchase Program for Retirees, you are not eligible for a health subsidy.
  2. Will the subsidy cover my dental plan?

    The health subsidy cannot be used to cover your dental plan.

  3. Does it matter what type of pension my spouse/domestic partner had?

    The type of pension does not matter. As long as the above requirements are met, you will be eligible for a health benefit. However, if your spouse/domestic partner died on active duty as a result of their duties as a police officer or firefighter, the City’s Personnel Department will administer your health subsidy/plan. Additional information on this program can be obtained by calling the Personnel Department’s Employee Benefits Section at (213) 978-1655.
     
  4. Are my dependents entitled to a subsidy?
    The dependents of a surviving spouse/domestic partner are not entitled to a health subsidy. The health subsidy for a surviving spouse/domestic partner may only be used to pay for the single-party health premium of the surviving spouse/domestic partner. However, you may enroll dependents under your plan.
     
  5. I started receiving a surviving spouse pension many years ago. Do I qualify for a health subsidy?

    You qualify for this benefit if you meet the conditions specified above under the question “How do I qualify?”
     
  6. Whom should I contact if I have other questions about my survivor’s health subsidy?

    If you have more questions, please contact the Medical and Dental Section at (844) 88-LAFPP (52377) or pensions@lafpp.com.
     
  7. Do I have to apply for a surviving spouse/domestic partner benefit?
    You do not have to apply for this benefit. Our computer system is programmed to provide it to any qualified surviving spouse/qualified domestic partner.
     
  8.  My spouse/domestic partner is currently getting a pension. If my spouse/domestic partner predeceases me, will I be eligible for a health subsidy?

    If you qualify for a survivor pension upon your spouse/domestic partner’s death, you may also qualify for a health subsidy .Here are the qualifications for survivor pensions for spouses/domestic partners:

    1. Service Pension – if your spouse/domestic partner is on a service pension, to qualify for a survivor pension you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member for at least one year prior to the date of retirement and on the date of death.

    2. Service-Connected Disability Pension – you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member on the date of the pension and on the date of death.

    3. Service-Connected Death – you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member on the date of death. (If your spouse/domestic partner were to die on active duty as a result of their duties as a police officer or firefighter, the City’s Personnel Department will administer your health subsidy/plan. Additional information on this program can be obtained by calling the Personnel Department’s Employee Benefits Section at (213) 978-1655.)

    4. Nonservice-Connected Death and Nonservice-Connected Disability Pension – you must be married to or be the qualified domestic partner of the member at least one year prior to the date of the pension and on the date of death. The member must also have had at least 5 years of service. (Note that the member must have at least 10 years of service for the member or the survivor to qualify for a health subsidy.
     
  9.  Where can I get information about the plans available to me?

    Information can be obtained from the following health plan sponsors:

    • Fire Police Pensions, Medical and Dental Section: (213) 279-3115, (844) 885-2377 ext 93115 or pensions@lafpp.com
    • Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association (LAFRA): (800) 244-3439
    • Los Angeles Police Relief Association (LAPRA): (888) 252-7721
    • United Firefighters of Los Angeles City (UFLAC): (800) 252-8352
  10. What is the amount of my health subsidy?

    Information can be found here.
     
  11.  Do I have to do anything when I reach age 65?
     

    In order to continue receiving your subsidy, you are required to enroll in Medicare to the full extent you are entitled. Three months before you reach age 65, we will send you information on signing up for Medicare. You may also receive information from your plan administrator, health plan and/or the Department of Health and Human Services/Social Security.

    If you are entitled to both Parts A & B of Medicare, you must enroll in both. If you are only entitled to Part B, you are not required to purchase Part A; however, you must enroll in Part B to receive a health subsidy. If you do not sign up for Medicare to the extent of your eligibility by your 65th birthday, you will not receive a City health subsidy. If you become eligible for Medicare before turning age 65, you must notify Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions at (844) 885-2377 ext. 93115.

    Note that if you are late signing up for Medicare Part B there are significant lifetime penalties. For additional information on Medicare, go to their Web site at www.medicare.gov or contact Social Security at (800) 772-1213.


     
  12.  Is the Medicare Part B reimbursement available as well?

    If you qualify for the health subsidy and are in a Medicare A & B plan, you will also receive a reimbursement for the standard Part B premium. This reimbursement will automatically be included in your monthly pension payment.
     
  13.  Am I required to enroll in Medicare Part D?
     

    LAFPP does not require members to enroll in Medicare Part D. However, enrolling and assigning your Part D benefits to your Board-approved plan will result in lower premiums. If you choose to enroll but do not assign your Part D benefits to your Board-approved plan, your subsidy will be capped at the lower premium that incorporates Part D enrollment. Please contact your health plan sponsor to find out if you are required to enroll in Medicare Part D:

    • Fire & Police Pensions, Medical and Dental Section: (213) 279-3115, (844) 885-2377 ext 93115 or pensions@lafpp.com
    • Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association (LAFRA): (800) 244-3439
    • Los Angeles Police Relief Association (LAPRA): (888) 252-7721
    • United Firefighters of Los Angeles City (UFLAC): (800) 252-8352
  14. What happens if I am not in a Board-approved plan?

    To receive the health subsidy, you must be in a Board-approved plan. If you are not, you will not receive a subsidy. If you are outside of California or are unable to enroll in a Board-approved HMO plan, you may qualify to participate in the Health Insurance Premium Reimbursement Program (HIPR) and receive a subsidy.