The eligibility requirements for the new Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plans are the following:
An appointment in one of the three Postdoctoral Scholar titlecodes (3252, 3253, and 3254).
Appointments in other academic or staff titles are not applicable to the PSBP criteria for eligibility.
Eligibility for family members:
Family member eligibility requirements are the same as the family member eligibility requirements for the UC Faculty/Staff plans. The major family categories are the following:
Besides the medical plans, Postdoctoral Scholar-Employees (TC 3252) qualify for the following welfare plans:
Fidelity Retirement Services
Retirement Savings Program Accounts
New Postdoctoral Scholars-Employee, Fellow and Paid Directs are NOT eligible for the following UC employee benefits:
Postdoc fellow and paid directs are not eligible for these "employee" plans.
Health Net offers a variety of programs that will assist you with maintaining both your, and your family’s, health. When you are a member in a Health Net medical plan, you will have access to the various valuable classes and programs offered. More information.
Postdoctoral Scholars are given 31 days from their appointment begin date to select and enroll in the UC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plan (PSBP). If the forms are not completed within 31 days of the appointment begin date, University coverage can only be provided on an exceptional basis.
In order to enroll in the UC PSBP, the Postdoctoral Scholar must complete the online enrollment and beneficiary forms and submit them to the departmental personnel representative for submission to Merritt Bradford in OPVSA, firstname.lastname@example.org or Campus Mailcode 0043.
Questions concerning general eligibility conditions should be directed to the departmental HR/personnel representative, or the OPVSA Postdoctoral Scholar Specialist, Merritt Bradford at email@example.com or (858) 534-3553. Emergency enrollment, questions regarding the details of each plan, activation of short term disability benefits, should be directed to:
Garnett Powers and Associates
23361 Madero, Suite 240
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm
Toll free at 1-800-254-1758
These plans satisfy J-1 and J-2 visa requirements for medical coverage of at least $50,000 per accident or illness. Effective January 1, 2007, the UC PSBP life insurance will satisfy requirements for medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. The Postdoctoral Scholar will be required to enroll his/her dependents separately for the medical evacuation and repatriation coverage through Garnett-Powers and Associates.
If a Postdoctoral Scholar wishes to terminate PSBP coverage prior to his/her appointment end date, or when a dependent loses eligibility, the Postdoctoral Scholar must complete the cancellation section of the Enrollment/Change Form and submit it to his/her department staff for processing. The department staff will then do the following:
Effective 4/1/2013; Health (medical, dental, and vision) coverage will end on the last day of the month for Postdocs who separate or end their appointment as of April 1, 2013, or later. For example, any postdoc separating from April 1 to April 30, 2013 shall see his/her coverage end on April 30, 2013.
Disability, life, AD&D and workers compensation will terminate the same day as his/her appointment.
Adding a dependent due to a "Qualifying Event"
If postdoctoral scholar is wishing to add a dependent due to a "qualifying event" such as marriage, newborn, loss of previous insurance coverage, postdoctoral scholar has 31 days from the date event occurred to add dependent.
Postdoctoral scholar will complete enrollment form found at http://www.garnett-powers.com/postdoc/enrollment2.htm , print it, sign it and send to Merritt Bradford in OPVSA, firstname.lastname@example.org or mailcode 0043 along with documentation reflecting the date of "qualifying event".
Examples of documentation:
Marriage – copy of marriage certificate
Loss of previous insurance coverage – letter showing previous coverage and date that coverage ended
U.S Entry – copy of documentation showing U.S. entry date
Newborn – no need to attach documentation as birth date of newborn will provide adequate documentation.
If request to add dependent is not completed with 31 days of the “qualifying event”, the next opportunity will be during Open Enrollment. Open Enrollment occurs in October or November with effective date of action January 1.
COBRA (PDF) stands for The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1985 and provides certain continuation coverage rights to individuals and their eligible family members when they lose group medical, dental or vision coverage because the individual appointment is terminated from UCSD, dies, divorces, or is legally separated, or because a child ceases to be eligible.
Notification at Time of Enrollment
At the time of enrollment, Postdoctoral Scholars are required to review the “General Notice of COBRA Continuation Coverage Rights” and indicate that they have reviewed it on the Enrollment/Change Form.
Notification to Separating Postdoctoral Scholar
In order for GPA to inform the Postdoctoral Scholar of his/her COBRA eligibility, the dept staff should ensure that the termination is entered in PPS as soon as possible and that the postdoc is instructed to contact GPA for COBRA application.
Notification to Family Members When Change in Status Occurs
When a child reaches the age of 23, the carrier will notify the Postdoctoral Scholar and the dependent of the impending loss of coverage. GPA will provide the COBRA notification to the Postdoctoral Scholar and dependent. PPS will automatically cancel the dependent enrollment at the appropriate time.
In all other circumstances when a family member loses eligibility, it is the responsibility of the Postdoctoral Scholar to complete the Enrollment/Change Form to de-enroll that family member. The form should be submitted to the department postdoctoral staff, who then forwards the form and accompanying material to Merritt Bradford in OPVSA, email@example.com or mailcode 0043.
The UC-UAW contract allows up to four (4) months of pregnancy disability leave. This leave is taken as unpaid unless postdoc has sick, personal time off or goes on short-term disability (income replacement).
As with any other leave, pregnancy disability leave must be discussed with PI/department as recordkeeping for personal time off and sick leave is recorded at department level.
Postdoc will need to discuss with department administrator/contact options for how they wish to be out on leave. For example; postdoc could use sick leave, personal time off, go on short-term disability, take part of leave with no pay or a combination of these options.
If postdoc will be electing to go on Short Term Disability, leave can start up to two (2) weeks before projected delivery date (with doctor approval). There will be a 7 calendar day waiting period (sick or PTO can be used) before The Standard Insurance Group will start paying on the disability claim. Once baby is born, postdoc will eligible for additional benefits to be paid for up to 6 weeks or 8 weeks (depending on the type of delivery).
For information on short-term disability and to download form, please visit http://www.garnett-powers.com/postdoc/std.htm. Once the short-term disability form has been completed, please send directly to The Standard Insurance at the address located on the top of the form. Please note that short-term disability is income replacement (pays 70% of the first $1,429 of weekly pre-disability earnings not to exceed $1,000 per week) and therefore, postdoc cannot be paid by any other source while on short-term disability.
Insurance premiums will continue to be paid as if on “paid” status for the duration of pregnancy disability leave. Any postdoc premium contribution will continue to be the responsibility of the postdoc and will receive invoice from either Payroll Department or Garnett-Powers & Associates requesting payment.
Under FMLA, eligible UC employees may be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid (can be paid if postdoc has sick or personal time off) leave for:
FMLA runs concurrent to pregnancy disability leave.
Effect on benefits under FMLA:
Postdoc shall be entitled to continue participation in health coverage (medical, dental and vision) as if on pay status. Postdoc would still be responsible for the monthly postdoc premium contribution amount.
Form(s) that must be submitted by department for pregnancy disability leave:
If postdoc will be submitting a short-term disability form to The Standard Insurance, there is a portion that will need to be completed by the employer (postdoc’s department). If you have questions completing the employer portion of the form, please contact Merritt Bradford at 858-834-3553 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Leaves of absence (PDF) of any kind must be discussed and approved by the postdoc’s PI/department. Department must complete an Academic Leave of Absence Form (PDF) and submit to Merritt Bradford, email@example.com or mailcode 0043.
Fellowships are defined as payments to aid one's pursuit of advanced training and research and are issued for the primary benefit of the individual receiving the payment. Because of their status as non-degree candidates, fellowship income received by a Postdoctoral Scholar is considered fully taxable by the federal and state tax boards.
One's residency status determines whether or not the University makes withholdings for federal taxes from this income. No withholdings are made for California State taxes.
Do not have federal or state income tax withheld from their fellowship income. If one does not have significant withholdings being taken from another income source, then the individual is expected to file estimated quarterly taxes with the federal (IRS) and state (CA FTB) tax boards. Please obtain the estimated tax publications below in order to assess whether or not you will need to make estimated quarterly tax payments.
Nonresidents of the United States will have federal taxes withheld from their taxable fellowship income. Individuals holding the F or J visa are assigned a federal withholding rate of 14%. All other visa holders are assigned a federal withholding rate of 30%. If one's home country has an applicable fellowship tax treaty and qualifies for the treaty exemption, the University may be able to reduce or eliminate federal tax withholding from the income. Here is more detail information about tax treaty statements.
Given their status as non-employees, the amount of the university contribution towards the Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Plans (ie. insurance premiums) is considered taxable, imputed income by the federal and state tax boards.
Postdoctoral-Fellows and -Paid Directs with supplemental Postdoctoral Scholar-Employee appointments at less than 50% time are also subject to applicable employment taxes for the value of their health and welfare benefits, irrespective of citizenship status.
Non-resident aliens in these two categories will have federal tax withheld each month at a rate of 14% for F/J visa-holders and 30% for all other visa holders. US citizens, permanent residents, and residents for tax purposes will not have withholdings taken or any official reporting by the University. However, they are expected to report the imputed income on their annual tax returns.
The following table summarizes the tax withholding and reporting required for benefits provided to Postdoctoral Scholars:
|Postdoctoral Scholar||Taxability of Benefits||Benefits Paid by the University Subject to Withholding for:||Benefits Paid by the University Reported on:|
|Federal Tax||State Tax||Federal Form||State Form|
|Employee – Citizen (1)||No||No||No||---||---|
|Employee – Nonresident Alien (2)||No||No||No||---||---|
|Fellow - Citizen||Yes||No||No||---||---|
|Fellow – Nonresident Alien (3)(4)||Yes||Yes||No||1042-S||---|
|Paid Direct – Citizen||Yes||No||No||---||---|
|Paid Direct – Nonresident Alien (3)(4)||Yes||Yes||No||1042-S||---|
Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code applies to the tax treatment of scholarships and fellowships. Degree candidates may exclude from gross income (for tax purposes) any amount used for course tuition and related expenses such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction at a qualified educational organization. Nondegree candidates are required to report as gross income any monies paid on their behalf for stipends or any course tuition and fees required for attendance.
The taxability of stipends in no way alters the relationship between Kirschstein-NRSA fellows and sponsoring institutions. Kirschstein-NRSA stipends are not considered salaries. In addition, recipients of Kirschstein-NRSA individual fellowships are not considered to be in an employee-employer relationship with NIH or the sponsoring institution solely as a result of the Kirschstein-NRSA award. The interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the IRS and the courts. NIH takes no position on what the status may be for a particular taxpayer, and it does not have the authority to dispense tax advice. Individuals should consult their local IRS office about the applicability of the law to their situation and for information on their tax obligations.
Postdoctoral Scholars are not students; therefore, they do not pay fees nor do they register with the Office of the Registrar. With the exception of summer school classes, Postdoctoral Scholars may audit courses and seminars with the consent of the instructor. No academic credit is given.
If scholars wish to take regular University courses and receive credit, they must enroll in the University Concurrent Enrollment program administered through the Extension office.
Postdocs are eligible to access counseling services offered by the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. FSAP offers a variety of services and resources to help individuals and departments with a range of issues, including trauma recovery, wellness, grief, and violence.
To order a postdoctoral scholar study certificate, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject line enter “certificate request.” In the body of the email include the following information:
If you have any questions, please contact Merritt Bradford at OPVSA, email@example.com or (858) 534-3553.