At retirement, APERS members can choose between five different benefit options, or ways to structure their retirement benefits (not including PAW or DROP). The straight life option is most frequently chosen and forms the baseline for the four "A" and "B" options. This article describes the straight life benefit option.
The Straight Life Option
Straight life is the simplest benefit option offered by APERS. The straight life option pays a monthly annuity directly to the retiree for life. On the death of the retiree, the monthly payments end. Unlike the other benefit options, straight life has no provisions for extending annuity payments to a beneficiary or survivor (for an exception, see the section on changes in marital status below).
However, any employee contributions credited to the retiree's account that have not been paid to the retiree in the form of monthly annuity payments will be refunded in a lump sum to the member's beneficiary or beneficiaries for contributions named in APERS' records.
Changes in Marital Status and the Straight Life Option
Members who elect the straight life option and marry after retirement, or within one year before retiring, may choose to cancel the straight life option and elect option B-50 or B-75 to provide continuing lifetime benefits to the spouse. If a retiree receiving benefits under the straight life option dies within 12 months of the effective date of retirement, the retiree's spouse may be eligible for an annuity under the same terms as the B-75 option.
All benefit calculations begin by establishing the "straight life rate" (also called "computed straight life annuity"). If an APERS member chooses the straight life option for regular retirement or disability retirement, then no further calculation is needed, and the member receives an annuity at the straight-life rate. If the member takes early retirement or chooses another benefit option, APERS first calculates the member's straight life rate and then adjusts it according to the pre-defined formula for that option.
For more information about your retirement benefit options, download the Retirement Benefit Options brochure (PDF) on the Publications page.