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Designate a Beneficiary

Designate a Beneficiary

Why

Designating your beneficiary  Generally, a person designated by a pension plan participant, or by the plan's terms, to receive some or all of the participant's pension benefits upon the participant's death. is very important, even if you have not yet begun to receive pension payments. PBGC makes three distinct types of payments to beneficiaries.

  • Survivor benefits. If you chose an annuity form that provides survivor benefits, PBGC will pay them to the person you designated. Please note if you are receiving a joint-and-survivor annuity, you cannot change the beneficiary  Generally, a person designated by a pension plan participant, or by the plan's terms, to receive some or all of the participant's pension benefits upon the participant's death.designation you made when  you applied for benefits.
  • Preretirement survivor benefits. If you are married and die before you begin receiving pension payments, PBGC will pay survivor benefits to your surviving spouse.
  • Unpaid amounts owed to you at the time of your death. If, for example, after your death PBGC discovers that we had been paying you too little each month, we will pay the balance owed plus interest to a beneficiary  Generally, a person designated by a pension plan participant, or by the plan's terms, to receive some or all of the participant's pension benefits upon the participant's death.. If your annuity does not pay survivor benefits, you can still name someone to receive any money we may owe you at the time of your death. You can name more than one individual or organization, such as a church or a trust.

    If you do not make a designation, we will pay what we owe to:
    • your spouse
    • your children
    • your parents
    • your estate, or
    • your next of kin,
    in that order.

If you are eligible to receive, or are receiving, payments as the beneficiary  Generally, a person designated by a pension plan participant, or by the plan's terms, to receive some or all of the participant's pension benefits upon the participant's death. of a deceased plan participant, it is important that you also designate a beneficiary.

How

  • The fastest way to designate your beneficiary  Generally, a person designated by a pension plan participant, or by the plan's terms, to receive some or all of the participant's pension benefits upon the participant's death. is through our online service, MyPBA. If you’ve never used MyPBA, it’s easy to get started.

OR

OR

  • Call PBGC's Customer Contact Center (1-800-400-7242) to request a beneficiary  Generally, a person designated by a pension plan participant, or by the plan's terms, to receive some or all of the participant's pension benefits upon the participant's death. designation form.
    • 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 handy your pension plan name and case number (found at the top left of PBGC’s correspondence with you) and your Social Security number, so the customer service representative can help you.

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Contact Us

Contact Us

Send us an email 24/7: mypension@pbgc.gov

Or, you can call 1-800-400-7242, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. ET

TTY/ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): call 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 1-800-400-7242

More contact information for Workers and Retirees

Last updated July 29, 2019