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Workers & Retirees

Apply for Survivor Benefits

As Beneficiary of PBGC Participant

PBGC makes three distinct types of payments to beneficiaries.

  1. Survivor benefits. If the participant chose an annuity form that provides survivor benefits, PBGC will pay them to the person the participant designated.
  2. Preretirement survivor benefits. If a participant was married and died before beginning to receive pension payments, PBGC will pay survivor benefits to a surviving spouse.
  3. Unpaid amounts owed to the participant at the time of death. If, for example, after a participant's death PBGC discovers that we had been paying too little each month, we will pay the balance owed plus interest to a beneficiary.

In order to begin receiving a survivor benefit, you must complete a beneficiary application for pension payments.


How to apply:

  • Use our online service to apply
  • Call PBGC's Customer Contact Center to request a beneficiary application for pension benefits.
    • Call at 1-800-400-7242. For TTY/ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) users, call the federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to the number above.
    • Remember to have the participant's social security number, plan name and case number, as well as your social security number ready for the customer service representative so that they are better able to help you.