(1) When prior to the commencement of retirement benefits any firefighter participating in the retirement system dies other than in the line of duty, and except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the entire retirement value shall be payable to the beneficiary or beneficiaries specified by the deceased firefighter prior to his or her death or to the deceased firefighter's estate in the event that no beneficiary was specified. The retirement value or portion thereof may be received by the beneficiary in the form of a single lump-sum payment, a straight life annuity, or any other optional form of benefit specified in the retirement system's funding medium. In the event benefits are paid in the form of an annuity, such annuity shall be the amount provided by the annuity contract purchased or otherwise provided by the amount of retirement value to be paid to the beneficiary as of the date of the first payment. Upon the payment of a lump-sum distribution or the purchase and distribution of such annuity contract to the beneficiary, all obligations of the retirement system to the beneficiary shall terminate, without exception.
(2) If any firefighter employed by such city as a member of its paid fire department on January 1, 1984, and any firefighter reemployed thereafter who, while employed in such department entered military service and is still in military service, dies while employed by the city as a firefighter other than in the line of duty after becoming fifty years of age and before electing to retire, and after serving in the paid fire department of such city for at least twenty-one years, then a pension of at least twenty-five percent of his or her regular pay as defined in section 16-1021, in the form of a straight life annuity, shall be paid to the surviving spouse or minor children of such deceased firefighter. If the deceased firefighter is not survived by a spouse or in the event such surviving spouse dies before the minor children of such firefighter attain the age of majority, such pension benefit shall be paid to the firefighter's minor children until they have attained the age of majority. Each such child shall share equally in the total pension benefit to the age of majority, except that as soon as a child attains the age of majority, such pension benefit to such child shall cease and be reallocated among the remaining minor children until the last remaining child dies or reaches the age of majority.
In the event that the actuarial equivalent of the pension benefit payable under this subsection exceeds the retirement value at the time of the first payment, the city shall utilize such funds as may be necessary from the unallocated employer account of the retirement system to purchase or provide for the required pension benefit. In the event a deceased firefighter described in this subsection is not survived by a spouse or minor children, his or her death benefits shall be provided under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section as if such firefighter were not employed by the city on January 1, 1984.
(3) In the event the surviving spouse or minor children of such deceased firefighter die before the aggregate amount of pension payments received by the firefighter and his or her survivor beneficiaries, if any, equals the total amount in the firefighter's employee account at the time of the first benefit payment, the difference between such total amount in the employee's account and the aggregate amount of pension payments received by the retired firefighter and his or her surviving beneficiaries, if any, shall be paid in a single sum to the firefighter's beneficiary, or in the absence of a surviving beneficiary, his or her estate.
(4) To the extent that the retirement value at the date of death exceeds the amount required to purchase or provide the specified pension under subsection (2) of this section, the excess shall be paid in the manner provided in subsection (1) of this section.
(5) Any payments for the benefit of a minor child shall be made on behalf of such child to the surviving spouse or, if there is none, to the legal guardian of the child.