(a) If an employee of the agency, before having completed twenty years of service as an employee of the agency, dies from any cause other than those specified in this article and not due to vicious habits, intemperance or willful misconduct on his or her part, there shall be paid annually in equal monthly installments from the fund to the surviving spouse of the employee during his or her lifetime, or until such time as the surviving spouse remarries, a sum equal to two and three-quarters percent of the total salary which would have been earned by the employee during twenty-five years of service with the agency based on his or her average earnings while employed with the agency. If there is no surviving spouse, or the surviving spouse dies or remarries, 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 employee during their joint lifetimes, a sum equal to the amount which a surviving spouse would have been entitled to receive: Provided, That when there is only 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.
(b) A surviving spouse or dependent 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. 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.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the term "salary" does not include compensation paid for overtime service.