Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–2021.10. Payment of beneficiaries.

(a) Under regulations prescribed by the District of Columbia Retirement Board, a present or former teacher may designate a beneficiary or beneficiaries for the purpose of this part.

(b)(1) Lump-sum benefits authorized by subsections (c), (d), and (e) of this section shall be paid in the following order of precedence to the person or persons surviving the teacher and alive at the date title to the payment arises, and the payment bars recovery by any other person:

(A) To the beneficiary or beneficiaries designated by the teacher in a signed and witnessed writing received by the District of Columbia Retirement Board before the teacher’s death;

(B) If there is no designated beneficiary, to the spouse or domestic partner of the teacher;

(C) If none of the above, to the child or children of the teacher and descendants of deceased children by representation;

(D) If none of the above, to the parents of the teacher or the survivor of them;

(E) If none of the above, to the duly appointed executor or administrator of the estate of the teacher;

(F) If none of the above, to such other next of kin of the teachers as the District of Columbia Retirement Board determines to be entitled under the laws of the domicile of the teacher at the date of his death.

(2) For the purpose of this subsection, the term “child” includes a natural child and an adopted child, but does not include a stepchild.

(c) If: (1) a teacher dies: (A) without a survivor; or (B) with a survivor or survivors and the right of all survivors terminates before a claim for survivor annuity is filed; or (2) a former teacher not retired dies, the lump-sum credit shall be paid.

(d) If all annuity rights under this part based on the service of a deceased teacher terminate before the total annuity paid equals the lump-sum credit, the difference shall be paid.

(e) If an annuitant dies, any annuity accrued and unpaid shall be paid.

(f) For purposes of this section, the term “lump-sum credit” means the unrefunded amount consisting of:

(1) Retirement deductions made under this part from the salary of a teacher;

(2) Amounts deposited into the teachers’ retirement and annuity fund by a teacher covering earlier service; and

(3) Interest earned prior to the end of the 90-day period beginning on November 17, 1979, on the deductions and deposits made with respect to service which aggregates more than 1 year but excluding interest for the fractional part of a month in the total service.


(Aug. 7, 1946, 60 Stat. 880, ch. 779, § 10; Mar. 6, 1952, 66 Stat. 21, ch. 95,§ 9; Dec. 29, 1967, 81 Stat. 750, Pub. L. 90-231, § 1(7); Nov. 17, 1979, 93 Stat. 866, Pub. L. 96-122, § 253(a)(5); Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-354, § 55(f), 52 DCR 2638; Sept. 12, 2008, D.C. Law 17-231, § 32(c), 55 DCR 6758.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-1232.

1973 Ed., § 31-730.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-2021.05.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-354, in subsecs. (a) and (b)(1)(F), substituted “District of Columbia Retirement Board” for “Mayor of the District of Columbia”; and, in subsec. (b)(1)(A), substituted “ District of Columbia Retirement Board before the teacher’s death;” for “Mayor of the District of Columbia before his death;”.

D.C. Law 17-231, in subsec. (b)(1)(B), substituted “spouse or domestic partner” for “widow or widower”.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)) appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.