A beneficiary receives a monthly survivor benefit after a retired member dies. However, this benefit option will only be available to your beneficiary if you choose to receive a monthly joint and survivor benefit at retirement.
Monthly joint and survivor benefit payouts normally last much longer for a member and his or her beneficiary than one retired member alone. As a result, this benefit decreases to match the actuarially-determined “value” of two lifetimes. Actuaries use mortality rate research to define lifetime value.
Also, a retired member could receive a much lower joint and survivor benefit if he or she retires later. As age increases, lifetime value decreases at a much faster rate. This drop in lifetime value can lower joint and survivor benefits.