DEFINITION of 'Qualified Joint And Survivor Annuity - QJSA'

An annuity payment from a qualified plan or 403(b) account that provides a life annuity to the participant and a survivor annuity for the spouse after the participant's death. QJSA rules apply to money-purchase pension plans, defined-benefit plans and target benefits. They can also apply to profit-sharing and 401(k) plans, but only if so elected under the plan.

BREAKING DOWN 'Qualified Joint And Survivor Annuity - QJSA'

The plan document usually provides the annuity percentage, but the general requirement is that the survivor annuity must be 50-100% of the annuity paid to the participant. If the participant is unmarried, the annuity is over his or her life expectancy.

Participants can waive the QJSA payment and receive lump-sum or ad-hoc distributions instead, provided the participant's spouse consents to the waiver and the spousal waiver is witnessed by a plan representative or notary public.

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