A death benefit that is paid to the surviving spouse of a deceased employee. If the employee dies before retirement, the qualified pre-retirement survivor annuity is paid to recompense the surviving spouse for the loss of retirement benefits that would have otherwise been paid to the employee. As the name implies, QPSAs are paid only for qualified plans.
Qualified pre-retirement survivor annuity benefits must be offered by all types of qualified plans to vested participants, including defined-benefit plans and money-purchase plans. However, the spouses must have been married for at least a year in order to be eligible for benefits. ERISA mandates how the payments for a QPSA should be calculated. Both employee and spouse must sign off on a waiver of QPSA benefits and have it witnessed by either a notary public or authorized plan representative.