WMS Beneficiary Terminology


Benefit Type

Benefit Type indicates the category of benefits that your beneficiary will receive upon your death.

Survivor Type

Survivor Type indicates whether your beneficiary will receive a continuance or a lump sum benefit upon your death.

Joint and Survivor

This type of survivor will receive a continuance, which means a continuing monthly payment to your beneficiary after your death.


This type of survivor will receive a lump sum payment, which is a one-time payment of benefits in one lump sum after your death.


Designation indicates whether the beneficiary is a primary or alternate (contingent) beneficiary.

Primary Beneficiary

This beneficiary will receive your ACERA death benefits.

Alternate Beneficiary

In the event your Primary Beneficiary does not survive you, ACERA will pay your death benefits to you Alternate Beneficiary.

Note: If whoever you’ve name as your Primary Beneficiary is already deceased, go ahead and designate a new Primary Beneficiary.