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If this is an ERISA plan, then it must provide a Preretirement Joint Survivorship Annuity (PJSA) that will provide not less than 50% of the worker's accrued benefit payable to the surviving spouse if the worker dies prior to beginning benefits. If it is a non-ERISA plan (such as a governement employer), these plans usually provide a PJSA, although it could vary by state. The PJSA may only be waived by the spouse.

If the employer goes bankrupt and it is an insured plan, the employee's accrued benefit will most likely be insured to 100% of the accrued benefit, up to the PBGC limit of about $55,841/yr. Non-insured ERISA plans may pay a reduced benefit if the bankruptcy occurs when the plan is underfunded and there are insufficient assets from the bankrupt employer to bring the plan to full funding.

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