§15-2-33. Awards and benefits to dependents of member when the member dies in performance of duty; to dependents of a duty disability retirant; dependent child scholarship and amount.
(a) The surviving spouse or the dependent child or children or dependent parent or parents of any member who has lost or loses his or her life by reason of injury, illness or disease resulting from an occupational risk or hazard inherent in or peculiar to the service required of employees while the member was or is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as an employee of the agency, or if a retirant dies from any cause after having been retired pursuant to the provisions of section twenty-nine of this article, the surviving spouse or other dependent is entitled to receive and shall be paid from the fund benefits as follows: To the surviving spouse annually, in equal monthly installments during his or her lifetime the greater of one or the other of two amounts:
(1) An amount equal to five and one-half percent of the total salary which was or would have been earned by the deceased member or duty disability retirant during twenty-five years of service based on the average earnings of the member or duty disability retirant while employed by the agency; or
(2) The sum of $6,000.
(b) In addition, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive and shall be paid $100 monthly for each dependent child or children. If the surviving spouse dies or if there is no surviving spouse, there shall be paid monthly to each dependent child or children from the fund a sum equal to twenty-five percent of the surviving spouse's entitlement. If there is no surviving spouse and no dependent child or children, there shall be paid annually in equal monthly installments from the fund to the dependent parents of the deceased member or retirant during their joint lifetimes a sum equal to the amount which a surviving spouse, without children, would have received: Provided, That when there is one dependent parent surviving, that parent is entitled to receive during his or her lifetime one-half the amount which both parents, if living, would have been entitled to receive.
(c) Any person qualified as a surviving dependent child under this section, in addition to any other benefits due under this or other sections of this article, is entitled to receive a scholarship to be applied to the career development education of that person. This sum, up to but not exceeding $7,500 per year, shall be paid from the fund to any higher education institution in this state, career-technical education provider in this state or other entity in this state approved by the board, to offset the expenses of tuition, room and board, books, fees or other costs incurred in a course of study at any of those institutions so long as the recipient makes application to the board on an approved form and under rules as provided by the board and maintains scholastic eligibility as defined by the institution or the board. The board may, by appropriate rules, define age requirements, physical and mental requirements, scholastic eligibility, disbursement methods, institutional qualifications and other requirements as necessary and not inconsistent with this section. Scholarship benefits awarded pursuant to this subsection are not subject to division or payable to an alternate payee by any Qualified Domestic Relations Order.
(d) A surviving spouse or dependent of an employee meeting the requirements of this section is entitled to receive beneficiary payments on the first day following the date the deceased employee is removed from payroll by the agency. A surviving spouse or dependent of a member who is not currently an employee meeting the requirements of this section is entitled to receive beneficiary payments on the first day following the date of the deceased member's death. A surviving spouse or dependent of a retirant meeting the requirements of this section is entitled to receive beneficiary payments on the first day of the month following the date of the deceased retirant's death. Upon receipt of properly executed forms from the agency and the surviving spouse or dependent, the board shall process the surviving spouse or dependent benefit as soon as administratively feasible.
(e) For the purposes of this section, the term "salary" does not include any compensation paid for overtime service.