§7-14D-19. Awards and benefits to surviving spouse − when member dies from nonservice-connected causes.

(a) In any case where a member who has been a member for at least 10 years, while in covered employment after the effective date of this article, has died or dies from any cause other than those specified in §7-14D-18 of this code and not due to vicious habits, intemperance, or willful misconduct on his or her part, the fund shall pay annually in equal monthly installments to the surviving spouse during his or her lifetime, a sum equal to the greater of: (i) One half of the annual compensation received in the preceding 12-month employment period by the deceased member; or (ii) if the member dies after his or her early or normal retirement age, the monthly amount which the spouse would have received had the member retired the day before his or her death, elected a 100 percent joint and survivor annuity with the spouse as the joint annuitant, and then died.

(b) Benefits for a surviving spouse received under this section, §7-14D-20, and §7-14D-21 of this code are in lieu of receipt of any other benefits under this article for the spouse or any other person or under the provisions of any other state retirement system based upon the member’s covered employment.