Many actions and procedures, including the probate of the will, can wait until after the spouse’s initial period of bereavement. But, for the retiree covered by the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program, some required steps should be taken as soon as possible.
The information here was prepared by RFA Director Todd Hunt. It has been reviewed by University Human Resources and by the State of NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits.
Switch spouse’s health care plan. While the retiree was alive, his or her medical care also covered the spouse. When the retiree dies, the spouse must move to a new group policy and must pay premiums. To report the death, contact the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits by calling Client Services in Trenton
at 609-292-7524. They will start the process by sending a form to the spouse which requires his or her signature. The group policy for spouses of deceased state employees is much less costly than the health insurance you would have to purchase on your own. For information about health insurance, contact the Retiree Benefits Office in
at 609-984-1683. This number is easier to get through to, and the people at this number only answer questions about health benefits. If you have questions about other matters, you must call the main number above.
Stop Medicare reimbursement. If the retiree has been receiving monthly reimbursement from the State of New Jersey for the Medicare Part B payment that is automatically deducted from his or her monthly Social Security check, the death notification call mentioned above is sufficient to stop further payment. However, if the retiree’s spouse also receives reimbursement from the state, the retiree should notify Client Services at the number above, or call 609-292-3735.
Collect insurance benefit. Upon the death of the retiree, the state pays ABP retirees an insurance benefit equal to one half the salary received during the terminal year (3/16 for PERS retirees) if the retiree was 60 or older with 10 or more years of service at retirement. If you have filed a beneficiary form with the state, the check will be mailed to the person(s) designated. If you have not filed a beneficiary form, the insurance becomes part of the estate and will be subject to probate. The beneficiary form can be downloaded from the website: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions. Or, to receive the form by fax, call 609-777-1931 and request item 8114; enter your area code and fax number. You can also e-mail a request for the form to email@example.com.
Notify Human Resources. Call 732-932-3020, ext. 4004 and speak with Wendy Fetzer. If she is unavailable, call 732-932-3020, ext. 4077 and speak with a Benefits Specialist. Have the Social Security number of the deceased, date of death and retirement date. They will fill in a “Death of University Retiree/Spouse” form with the information including the name of the department with which he or she was affiliated, the funeral home and information about viewing and services, and next of kin. They will notify the NJ Division of Pensions Death Department as well as TIAA-CREF, if applicable. Also, they will notify the Office of the Secretary so that a condolence letter is sent and the flag in front of Old Queen administration building is lowered for two days. They will update the university’s database so that when former colleagues and former students attempt to contact the deceased, they will be notified of the passing. They also will find the answer to any questions you may have.