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February 16, 2009

Qualified Joint And Survivor Annuity ( QJSA)

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Definition

Distribution option under a qualified plan or 403(b), where annuity payments are made to the participant for his/her lifetime and continues to his/her surviving spouse.

Survivor annuity for the life of the spouse cannot be  less than 50 percent of ( or more than 100 percent of) the amount of the annuity which is payable during the joint lives of the participant and the spouse

Each participant:

  • may elect at any time during the applicable election period to waive the qualified joint and survivor annuity (QJSA)form of benefit or the qualified preretirement survivor annuity form of benefit (or both), and

  • may revoke any such election at any time during the applicable election period

The plan must provide that the QJSA waiver cannot not take effect unless—

  • A (i) the spouse of the participant consents in writing to the election, (ii) the election designates a beneficiary (or a form of benefits) which may not be changed without spousal consent (or the consent of the spouse expressly permits designations by the participant without any requirement of further consent by the spouse), and (iii) the spouse’s consent acknowledges the effect of the election and is witnessed by a plan representative or a notary public, or
  • (B) it is established it is established to the satisfaction of a plan representative that the spousal consent cannot  be obtained because there is no spouse, because the spouse cannot be located, or because of such other circumstances as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe

Referring Cite

IRC § 417, Treas. Reg. 1.401(a)-20

 

Additional Helpful Information

  • With a survivor annuity for the life of the spouse which is not less than 50 percent of (and is not greater than 100 percent of) the amount of the annuity which is payable during the joint lives of the participant and the spouse.
  • Pension plans are required to offer annuity options for distributions, which can be waived by the participant and spouse
  • The plan is required to provide each participant ( within a reasonable period of time before the annuity starting date), with a written explanation of—
    • the terms and conditions of the qualified joint and survivor annuity,
    • the participant’s right to make an election to waive the joint and survivor annuity form of benefit,
    • the effect of an election to waive the joint and survivor annuity form of benefit,
    • the rights of the participant’s spouse to consent to a QJSA election made by the participant and
    • the right to make, and the effect of, a revocation of a QJSA  election
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