Life & Work Events

Benefits if You Leave Before Age 55

There are several steps you should take to ensure you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled if you leave the University before age 55.

  • Make sure that your address of record with the University is correct, especially if you are moving. Log in to Workday@UChicago using your cnet ID and password to change your address.
  • If you have any questions about how your benefits will be impacted as a result of leaving the University, you can e-mail, or request an appointment with a Benefit Specialist at 773.702.9634 to discuss your options. 
  • Make sure that your department processes the forms needed to show you as a terminated employee in the University system. If you are still shown as a benefits-eligible employee in the system, many of the benefits to which you are entitled after your employment ends cannot be processed.

Health Insurance- Medical, dental and/or Vision

Your University health insurance coverage ends on the last day of the month in which your employment with the University ends. For example, if you terminate employment on the 3rd of March, it remains in effect until the last day of March.

COBRA Continuation for Health Benefits

You have the right to continue any University medical, dental and/or vision coverage in effect when your employment ends for up to 18 months. WageWorks will mail you all the information you need to elect continued medical, dental and/or vision coverage. You have 60 days from the date you receive the COBRA forms to elect continued coverage; return the form along with your payment  directly to WageWorks.  

The premium for coverage under COBRA is 102% of the full cost — you pay the premium you paid as an employee plus the University’s portion of the cost. You also pay a 2% service fee. The coverage will be retroactive to the date your coverage terminated. If you become covered under a new health plan during this time you may choose not to apply for COBRA coverage as it is no longer needed.

For more information on COBRA, visit COBRA Continuation of Coverage.

Portability/Conversion of Life, Long-Term Disability and Personal Accident Benefits

Portable life insurance benefits: If you are under age 65, you may continue the life insurance coverage you had in effect when you terminated employment (subject to certain limitations), with no requirement to show evidence of insurability. The premium for this coverage is set by Sun Life under a different group policy. The life insurance portability form can be obtained from Benefits. You have 31 days from the date your employment terminates to make the election and send a payment to Sun Life.

Conversion: You have the right to convert any group life, long-term disability coverage, and/or personal accident insurance coverage in effect when your employment ends to an individual policy. You have 31 days from the date your employment terminates to make the election and return with your payment to Sun Life.

Flexible Spending Accounts

If you maintain a flexible spending account, be sure to file a claim with WageWorks for reimbursement of claims incurred before the date you terminate employment. For a health care account, you may claim your annual amount up to the amount of claims incurred before your employment terminates. You can always claim up to 100% of the balance of your dependent care account for a given calendar year

You should file your claims as soon as possible, but you have until June 30th after the close of the calendar year in which your employment ends to file claims.

Please Note: Health care claims incurred after your termination date are not eligible for reimbursement. If you have more money than claims incurred in your health care account at your termination date, you may elect to have COBRA pay in after- tax dollars to WageWorks for reimbursement of the unused money in your flex account. Contact WageWorks at 877.822.9091 for more information.

Qualified Transportation Program

Your participation in this program ends on the last day of the month in which you leave the University.

Retirement Benefits

If you participate in one or more of the University’s retirement plans when your employment ends, you may:

  • Leave your vested retirement accumulations with TIAA and continue to direct the investment of your retirement plan assets until the law requires you to start receiving benefits;
  • Transfer/rollover your vested accumulations to another tax-deferred account such an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or 401(k) plan or another 403(b) sponsored by your new employer which will continue the tax-deferred status of your retirement money; or
  • Elect to receive your vested retirement plan funds and incur federal taxes, including a penalty for receiving the money before age 59 ½ , unless the money is paid due to retirement or death.

Call  TIAA 800.842.2776 to request the appropriate forms. 

If you are a staff employee who is vested, you may elect to receive the present value of the defined benefit portion of your benefit in a single lump sum. Contact Benefits to obtain the proper election forms.