In the event of the death of a DEA member, a spouse or beneficiary should be prepared to obtain copies of documents which will be needed by the union and by various agencies, organizations, and the government to straighten out the deceased's estate.
Here is a list of the documents that each member's spouse or beneficiary will need, and for whom they will be needed.
You will need one copy of the death certificate for the DEA Health Benefits office.
You will also need two copies for the City (one for the Employee Section and one for the Pension Section of the Police Department.)
If the deceased was a veteran, you will need two copies of the death certificate for the Veterans Administration.
One copy is also needed for the Social Security Administration and another copy is needed for the Department of Motor Vehicles.
A copy will also be needed for your insurance company. DEA insurance policies are handled through Mechanic & Associates at (845) 624-3800, or call toll free in the State of New York (888) 669-3800; or call toll free out of State (888) 956-3800. If you have other policies, you will need one copy for each company involved.
In order to execute the Will, you will need one death certificate for the deceased's lawyer. Additionally, the spouse or beneficiary should retain a copy of the death certificate for his or her personal records and for future reference.
Also keep in mind that other relatives who work for the City may each need a copy to obtain time off from work to attend the funeral. Death certificates cost approximately $4.00 for each copy.
Marriage Certificates with the official raised seal
If the deceased was a veteran, you will need one copy of the marriage certificate for the Veterans Administration.
One copy will also be needed for the Social Security Administration.
Marriage certificates cost approximately $10.00 for the first copy and $5.00 for each additional copy. They are available from the City Hall where you were married.
Last Will and Testament
You will need one copy of the deceased's Will for the state's Department of Taxation in order to obtain a tax waiver for pension monies.
You will also probably need one copy for the Internal Revenue Service.
Active and retired DEA members are entitled to a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will, and/or Health Care Proxies from the DEA's attorneys, Karasyk & Moschella. Call Karasyk & Moschella directly at (212) 233-3800 for this service.
In the event that the Will calls for a transfer of ownership of property, you will need the following surrogate's certificates, supplied by Surrogates Court:
One copy for the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to transfer car ownership;
One copy for the City Department of Finance in order to collect the deceased's final pay checks;
One copy for the State Department of Taxation for a tax waiver in order to collect pension monies;
And one copy for the City Comptrollers Office (in some cases this is necessary to collect pension monies).
Please note that it usually takes about 3-1/2 months after a person's death for a spouse or beneficiary to receive a Surrogate's Certificate.
If the deceased was a veteran, a copy of his or her discharge papers will be needed for the Veterans Administration. The veteran's original discharge papers may be needed for the Social Security Administration.
Paid Funeral Bills
The Detectives' Endowment Association will pay up to $10,000 for the funeral of any active NYPD detective who passes away, regardless of the cause of death. (This does not apply to retirees.) As of July 1, 2000, the Union also provides a $5,000 funeral expense for an active NYPD detective’s spouse or properly registered domestic partner. (This also does not apply to retirees.) If the member or spouse chooses, the DEA can pay the funeral home and others directly.
In addition to the processing of this benefit, you will need copies of paid funeral bills for the NYPD in order for the spouse or beneficiary to receive the deceased's final paychecks from the Department.
An additional set of copies will be needed for the Pension Section (unless the undertaker fills out the pension supplies form).
DEA Annuity Fund
If the deceased kept an account with the DEA Annuity Fund, upon notification of the member's death, the DEA will send a form to the beneficiary, who needs to fill out the form and return it to the DEA, along with a copy of the deceased's death certificate. The beneficiary has the option to roll over the account into an IRA or withdraw the funds.
DEA Health Benefits
The DEA will provide a health benefits package to the surviving spouse of an active DEA member and his or her eligible dependents (up to the age of 19). To purchase this COBRA coverage, survivors should contact the DEA Health Benefits office at (212) 587-9120, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Social Security Administration
Your nearest Social Security office, which will be listed under the government section in your phone book, requires one copy of the deceased's death certificate and one copy of the deceased's marriage certificate (with seal).
The SSA also requires one copy of the deceased's birth certificate (with seal). Birth certificates can be obtained by contacting the Department of Health in the city in which the deceased was born. Copies of birth certificates cost approximately $3.50 each.
If the deceased was a military veteran, one copy of the member's discharge papers must go to the Social Security Administration, along with one copy of the paid funeral bills, one copy of the deceased's Social Security card, and one copy of the survivor's Social Security card.
Please note that Social Security payment for widows and dependent children takes approximately two months.
You can phone (800) 827-1000, a toll free number for the regional New York office of the VA, to inquire about any sort of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to which certain veteran's spouses may be entitled. The VA requires the following documents: two copies of the death certificate; one copy of the marriage certificate; one copy of the deceased's birth certificate; one copy of the discharge papers; and one copy of government insurance papers.
Please note that the VA sometimes supplies gravestones plus a stipend of approximately $250 for burial and for benefits for a spouse and for dependent children.
State Department of Motor Vehicles
For the transfer of automobile ownership, the State Department of Motor Vehicles will require one copy of the death certificate and one copy of the surrogate's certificate (if there is a Will involved).
Keep Cash Readily Available
You should keep enough cash readily available to sustain your family for several months while you are waiting for payments from some of the above-mentioned agencies or until the settlement of an estate. Banks will put a hold on savings or checking accounts and safety deposit boxes as soon as an obituary is published. New York State taxes, as well as federal inheritance taxes, may be due.
Identification will be needed at most places to get information or application forms. The Social Security cards of both the deceased and the beneficiary (or survivor) will be required at most of the offices that need to be contacted.
You may also want to contact the New York State Department of Taxation. You can receive a tax waiver to be filled out and notarized. You must list all of the deceased's assets (such as real estate, bank accounts, insurance, union benefits, veteran's benefits, city pension benefits, etc.). The Department of Taxation will also require a copy of the Will (if one is involved) and possibly a Surrogate's Certificate.
You may also wish to contact the New York City Comptroller's Office. They may require a copy of the Surrogate's Certificate before paying out monies that are due from the pension system.
Please remember to notify the NYPD and the DEA in the event of a death.
Both the DEA Benefits office at (212) 587-9120 and the NYPD Operations Division at (646) 610-6100 should be notified. When immediately notified, the Operations Division may also be able to supply police officers in dress uniform as pallbearers for the funeral.
If you have any questions, it is always a good idea to consult with your lawyer and accountant as tax and legal issues are constantly subject to change.