QUALIFIED JOINT AND SURVIVOR ANNUITY (QJSA)
What is a Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuity (QJSA)?
Iowa Law requires the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Peace Officers' Retirement, Accident and Disability System to pay retirement benefits in a special payment form unless your spouse chooses a different payment form and you agree to that choice. This special payment form is often called a "qualified joint and survivor annuity" or "QJSA" payment form. The QJSA payment form gives your spouse a monthly retirement payment for the rest of his or her life. This is often called an "annuity." Under the QJSA payment form, after your spouse dies, each month the plan will pay you 50 percent of the retirement benefit that was paid to your spouse. The benefit paid to you after your spouse dies is often called a "survivor annuity" or a "survivor benefit." You will receive this survivor benefit for the rest of your life.
How can your spouse change the way benefits are paid?
Your spouse and you will receive benefits from the plan in the special QJSA payment form required by Iowa Law unless your spouse chooses a different payment form and you agree to the choice. If you agree to change the way the plan's retirement benefits are paid, you give up the right to the special QJSA payments.
Do you have to give up your right to the QJSA Benefit?
Your choice must be voluntary. It is your personal decision whether you want to give up your right to the special QJSA payment form.
What other benefit forms can my spouse choose?
If you agree, your spouse can choose to have the retirement benefits paid in a different form. Other payment forms may give your spouse larger retirement benefits while he or she is alive, but might not pay you any benefits after your spouse dies.
If you agree, your spouse can name someone other than you to receive the survivor benefits from the plan after your spouse dies. The person your spouse selects to receive the survivor benefits is often called a "beneficiary." If you agree to let your spouse name someone else as the beneficiary for the survivor benefits, you will not receive any payments from the plan after your spouse dies.
The Board of Trustees of the Peace Officers' Retirement, Accident and Disability System have adopted the following optional benefits that may be selected by your spouse with your agreement:
Straight Life Annuity with no benefits payable to you upon death of your spouse.
Straight Life Annuity with 5 years certain. Should your spouse die before receiving 60 monthly benefits, you would continue to receive benefits for the remainder of the 60 months. Should your spouse die after receiving 60 monthly benefits, you would receive no benefits payable to you upon the death of your spouse.
Straight Life Annuity with 10 years certain. Should your spouse die before receiving 120 monthly benefits, you would continue to receive benefits for the remainder of the 120 months. Should your spouse die after receiving 120 monthly benefits, you would receive no benefits payable to you upon the death of your spouse.
Joint and 50% survivor annuity with a beneficiary other than you. Upon the death of your spouse the optional beneficiary would receive survivor benefits for the remainder of their life and you would receive no benefits payable to you after the death of your spouse.
Joint and 75% survivor annuity. Upon the death of your spouse you would receive 75% of the member's monthly benefit for the remainder of your life.
Joint and 100% survivor annuity. Upon the death of your spouse you would continue to receive the same monthly benefit that your spouse was receiving prior to his or her death.
Single life annuity with a designated lump sum. Upon the death of your spouse you would receive a lump sum payment in lieu of the QJSA monthly benefit.
Can your spouse make future changes if you sign this agreement?
If you sign this agreement, you agree that benefits under the plan will be paid in the form stated in this agreement. Your spouse cannot change the payment form, or the beneficiary, unless you agree to the change by signing a new agreement.
Can you change your mind after you sign this agreement?
You can change this agreement until the first benefit payment is made by the Peace Officers' Retirement, Accident and Disability System. After that date, you cannot change the agreement. If you change your mind, you must notify the plan administrator by submitting a REVOCATION OF SPOUSE'S AGREEMENT TO GIVE UP THE RIGHT TO THE QUALIFIED JOINT AND SURVIVOR ANNUITY form. This form must be signed, notarized and delivered to the plan administrator prior to the first benefit payment by the System.
What happens to this agreement if you become separated or divorced?
Legal separation or divorce may end your right to survivor benefits from the System even if you do not sign this agreement. However, if you become legally separated or divorced, you might be able to get a special court order (which is called a qualified domestic relations order or "QDRO") that would give you rights to receive retirement benefits even if you sign this agreement. If you are thinking about separating or getting a divorce, you should get legal advice on your rights to benefits from the System.
What should you know before signing this agreement?
This is a very important decision. You should think very carefully about whether you want to sign this agreement. Before signing, be sure that you understand what retirement benefits you may get and what benefits you will no longer be able to receive.
Your spouse should have received information on the types of retirement benefits available from the System. If you have not seen this information, you should get it and read it before you sign this agreement. For additional information, you can contact Joanne Tinker, at the following address:
Peace Officers' Retirement, Accident and Disability System
Department of Public Safety Building
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
PEACE OFFICERS' RETIREMENT, ACCIDENT AND DISABILITY SYSTEM
SPOUSE'S AGGREEMENT TO GIVE UP THE RIGHT TO THE
QUALIFIED JOINT AND SURVIVOR ANNUITY (QJSA)
(Information and Explanation)