Kentucky State, Major City & Public School Retirement Systems

Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) is governed by a nine-member board of trustees and consists of three separate retirement systems. They are the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS), which was established on July 1, 1956 for state employees; the County Employees Retirement System (CERS), which was established July 1, 1958 for local government and classified school board employees; and the State Police Retirement System (SPRS), which was established July 1, 1958 for uniformed Kentucky state police officers.

The KRS funds is a defined benefit system. The benefits come from three sources: employee contributions deducted from an employeeís creditable compensation, employer contributions paid by each state and county agency participating in the KRS, and return on investments.

A member must notify KRS when he or she divorces if the ex spouse has been named as beneficiary or has covered him or her by insurance through KRS, because a final divorce decree voids the designation of a spouse as beneficiary and terminates the ex-spouseís eligibility as a dependent on health insurance coverage. Learn more by reading below.


QDRO Kentucky Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) Ö.. Start Now Start Now
QDRO Kentucky County Employees Retirement System (KCERS) Ö.. Start Now Start Now
QDRO Kentucky State Police Retirement System (KSPRS) Ö.. Start Now Start Now


At the time of retirement, the member may name only one person, his or her estate, or a trust as beneficiary of the monthly retirement allowance.

If the beneficiary dies or divorces the retired member, state law provides that the memberís estate becomes the beneficiary. An estate or trust cannot be eligible for a lifetime payment upon the death of a retired member.

The alternate payee of a QDRO is not eligible to enroll for health insurance coverage through KRS. If the divorce occurs after the first day of the month of the first payment, the memberís estate becomes the beneficiary of the account. The member may not name a new beneficiary for monthly benefits. His or her estate is not entitled to payments under a survivorship payment option. In the event of remarriage to the former spouse the former spouse who was the named beneficiary on the memberís Form 6000, Notification of Retirement, shall be reinstated as the beneficiary if a survivorship payment option was chosen. If the ex-spouse is the named beneficiary of the death benefit, the Form 6030, Death Benefit Designation, must be completed again following the date of divorce, or the estate will become the beneficiary of the payment when it is issued.

Upon notification of a retired memberís death, KRS notifies the beneficiary regarding his or her status as beneficiary. The beneficiary completes and files the proper forms along with a death certificate. The retired memberís estate receives the retirement payment for the month of the death.

If the retired member selected the Basic Option and has not recovered all the member contributions and interest accumulated in his or her retirement account, the beneficiary receives the remaining account balance. If, on the other hand, the retired member selected a Survivorship Option at the time of retirement, the beneficiary will receive monthly benefits beginning in the month following the memberís death. Monthly benefits do not continue if the memberís estate has become the beneficiary because the beneficiary has died or divorced the member.

A retired memberís beneficiary may be eligible for a death benefit. If a retired member receives a monthly benefit based on at least 48 months of service credit, KRS pays a $5,000 death benefit payment to whoever is designated the death benefit beneficiary. The beneficiary or administrator of the memberís estate submits proper documentation of the date of death and the qualifications of the administrator. Members with multiple accounts are entitled to only one death benefit. The $5,000 death benefit is subject to federal income tax, but may be eligible for a direct rollover to defer tax withholding. The death benefit beneficiary form must be completed by the retiree and filed at the retirement office prior to the retireeís death.

The $5,000 death benefit applies only to beneficiaries of retired members receiving a monthly benefit based upon at least 48 months of service credit.

The beneficiary or estate is required to submit a death certificate for the member listing the cause of death. If death occurred after the effective retirement date, the agency is not required to submit any information. An audit of the deceased memberís account will be performed once the death is reported to KRS. The beneficiary of the account will be notified by mail. Please note that a completed beneficiary designation must be on file with KRS in Frankfort prior to the memberís death to be valid. A copy received after the memberís death is not acceptable.

A beneficiaryís payment must be deposited directly to a financial institution. If the beneficiary does not have an account with a financial institution or the financial institution does not participate in the Automated Clearing House (ACH), the beneficiary must complete a Form 6135, Request for Payment by Check. The retirement benefit will not be processed until the appropriate forms are filed with KRS.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Does a former spouse remain a beneficiary if designated before the divorce?
A. No. Under Kentucky law, the marriage dissolution decree revokes the designation of the spouse as beneficiary. If the divorce decree requires that a former spouse be designated a beneficiary, the member must complete a KRS Change Form. If the divorce occurs after the first day of the month in which the member receives his first retirement allowance, the retired memberís estate becomes the beneficiary of the account. The memberís estate is not entitled to payments under a survivorship payment option. In the event of remarriage to the former spouse, the former spouse who was the named beneficiary on the memberís notification of retirement shall be reinstated as the memberís beneficiary for the survivorship payment option previously chosen.
Q. What are the protocols for QDROs in Kentucky?
A. KRS accepts and enforces QDROs submitted in accordance with Kentucky Revised Statute 61.690 and 105 KAR 1:190. KRS accepts QDROs only if they are on the form incorporated by reference to the administrative regulation. A QDRO not on the form provided by KRS must be rewritten in the form provided by KRS; otherwise, it cannot be accepted or enforced. QDROs accepted by KRS for enforcement prior to July 14, 2000 are exempt and not affected by Kentucky Revised Statute 61.690. QDROs are administered prospectively and KRS is not responsible for collecting any payments that are delinquent at the time KRS accepts the QDRO.
Q. Can the former spouse receive payments from KRS immediately?
A. No. KRS payments are made only when the member spouse ends his employment, or applies for a benefit or refund, and his or her benefits become payable.
Q. After a member ends his or her employment, can the former spouse receive his or her share in a lump sum payment?
A. If the member decides on monthly payments, the former spouse must accept the same payment regime.
Q. Do payments to a former spouse require a court order?
A. KRS requires a certified copy of the marriage dissolution or separate order dividing the PERA pension (or a temporary retraining order preventing the application for a refund) before dividing the monthly pension.
Q. Can the type of pension be changed later?
A. No. A pension benefit cannot be revoked or changed. For example, if a former spouse is named survivor, payments continue to him or her after the memberís death.
Q. Does KRS accept out-of-state divorce decrees?
A. Yes, but the decree must be filed in Kentucky before KRS can administer it.
Q. Does a former spouse remain the beneficiary if designated before the divorce?
A. No. Under Kentucky law, the marriage dissolution decree revokes the designation of the spouse as beneficiary. If the divorce decree requires that a former spouse be designated a beneficiary, the member must complete a KRS Change Form.
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