(1) If a member of the pension program who is vested dies before the members effective date of retirement, the Public Employees Retirement Board shall pay the death benefit provided for in this section to:
(a) The spouse of the member to the extent not provided to a former spouse in accordance with a judgment or order under ORS 238.465 (Benefits payable to others under certain judgments);
(b) The former spouse of the member as provided in a judgment or order under ORS 238.465 (Benefits payable to others under certain judgments); or
(c) Any other person who is constitutionally required to be treated in the same manner as a spouse for the purpose of retirement benefits.
(2)(a) The death benefit to be paid under this section shall be for the life of the spouse, former spouse or other person who is constitutionally required to be treated in the same manner as a spouse, and shall be the actuarial equivalent of 50 percent of the pension that would otherwise have been paid to the deceased member.
(b) For the purpose of paragraph (a) of this subsection, the amount of the pension that would otherwise have been paid to the deceased member shall be calculated:
(A) As of the date of death if the member dies after the earliest retirement date for the member under ORS 238A.165 (Earliest retirement age); or
(B) As if the member became an inactive member on the date of death and thereafter retired at the earliest retirement date if the member dies before the earliest retirement date for the member under ORS 238A.165 (Earliest retirement age).
(3) The death benefit provided under this section is first effective on the first day of the month following the date of death of the member. The surviving spouse, former spouse or other person entitled to the death benefit may elect to delay payment of the death benefit, but payment must commence no later than December 31 of the calendar year in which the member would have reached 70-1/2 years of age.
(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of ORS 238A.100 (Establishing membership under pension program) to 238A.250 (Option of legislators to receive certain benefits), distributions of death benefits under the pension program must comply with the minimum distribution requirements of 26 U.S.C. 401(a)(9) and the regulations implementing that section, as in effect on December 31, 2014. The board shall adopt rules implementing those minimum distribution requirements. [2003 c.733 §25; 2005 c.332 §15; 2009 c.5 §5; 2009 c.909 §5; 2010 c.82 §5; 2011 c.7 §5; 2012 c.31 §5; 2013 c.377 §5; 2014 c.52 §5; 2015 c.442 §5; 2015 c.506 §1]