UC San Diego SearchMenu

Benefits

As a condition of appointment, UCSD requires that all Postdoctoral Scholar appointees have adequate health insurance coverage for the duration of their appointments. On January 1, 2005, the University of California implemented a system-wide health insurance plan for all Postdoctoral Scholars. The UC Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Plan (PSBP) is a comprehensive program that offers medical, dental, vision, life and AD&D insurance, short-term disability insurance, and voluntary long-term disability insurance and is available to all scholars appointed on or after January 1, 2005.The PSBP is comprised of the following plans, some of which offer a choice between an HMO or PPO options:
  • Medical: Health Net HMO or PPO
  • Dental: Health Net DHMO or Principal POS
  • Health Net Vision PPO
  • Life, AD&D and Short-Term Disability Insurance offered through Standard Insurance (you will be automatically enrolled in these plans)
  • Voluntary Long-Term Disability Insurance offered through Standard Insurance

Rates

* Fringe Benefits rate:  Use actual premium costs, Postdoctoral Scholar - Employee 22.1%, or Postdoctoral Scholar - Fellow fringe benefit rate of 22.2%  
* Preparing a multi-year proposal? Increase rates by 20%.

Eligibility

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).

  • Initial Eligibility requires an appointment at 100% time for at least three months or 50%-99% time for at least 12 months.
  • To retain eligibility, Postdoctoral Scholars- Employee are required to maintain an average regular paid time of at least 17.5 hours per week (43.75%).  
    Note: the paid percent time can differ from the appointment percent time.
  • To retain eligibility, Postdoctoral Scholars- Fellow or Paid Direct, are required to maintain an appointment at a minimum of 43.75% time.

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:

  • Spouse
  • Natural or adopted child or children to age 23 (unless eligible to continue coverage because of disability) and unmarried.
  • Stepchild to age 23 if unmarried, lives with the Postdoctoral Scholar, is supported by the Postdoctoral Scholar at more than 50%, and is claimed as a tax dependent by the Postdoctoral Scholar or spouse.
  • Same-sex domestic partner or AB 205 defines an eligible opposite-sex domestic partner as being age 62 or above, eligible for Medicare and both parties are over the age of 18. 
    For additional information (PDF)

Welfare Plans

Besides the medical plans, Postdoctoral Scholar-Employees (TC 3252) qualify for the following welfare plans:

  • Defined Contribution Plan (Safe Harbor) – 7.5% of salary is deducted for DCP and 1.45% for Medicare.  UC will contribute 1.45% to Medicare.  DCP contributions are made in lieu of Social Security and can be withdrawn when UC appointment is terminated.
  • 403B (contact Fidelity Retirement Services)
  • 457B tax-deferred investment programs (contact Fidelity Retirement Services)
  • After-tax investment programs (contact Fidelity Retirement Services)
  • Pre-tax parking

Fidelity Retirement Services
Retirement Savings Program Accounts
Phone: 1-866-682-7787

New Postdoctoral Scholars-Employee, Fellow and Paid Directs are NOT eligible for the following UC employee benefits:

  • UC retirement program and the accompanying one-month death benefit.
  • Legal plan
  • Health-care and dependent-care reimbursement accounts, pre-tax.

Postdoc fellow and paid directs are not eligible for these "employee" plans.

Wellness 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.

  • For discounts on fitness apparel and club memberships, complementary health care and weight management, please click on Healthy Discounts (PDF).
  • Decision Power is a program that offers a variety of methods to track possible health risks and identify potential problems. The goal of this program is to assist with step-by-step plans with online coaching with a guide to tobacco use, weight management, nutrition and stress reduction. Please click on Decision Power (PDF) for information on enrolling in this program.
  • If you wish to make the healthy decision to quit smoking, Smoking Cessation (PDF) offers a plan to help you kick the habit with the assistance of either online or telephone support.
  • Lose Weight (PDF) is another health-wise program offered through Decision Power that keeps you motivated to lose weight, offers healthy eating choices and counseling from a health coach.

Workers Compensation

Postdoctoral Scholars-Employee, Fellow and Paid Directs are enrolled in Workers' Compensation. Employees’ salaries continue to be subject to the standard campus Workers Compensation percentage rate.  Departments will be assessed a flat monthly Workers Compensation charge for each Fellow and Paid Direct. California law dictates that this charge cannot be passed on to the Fellow or Paid Direct.

Enrollment

Period of Initial Eligibility (PIE)

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, merritt@ucsd.edu 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 merritt@ucsd.edu 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
psbp@garnett-powers.com

Insurance Enrollment Process

  • Visit the Garnett-Powers & Associates website http://www.garnett-powers.com/postdoc/enrollment.htm  and complete enrollment as instructed.
  • Complete and print the Life Insurance Beneficiary Form (PDF).
  • Submit the Enrollment/Change form and Beneficiary Form to your department administrative staff.
  • The department staff forwards the forms to Merritt Bradford in OPVSA, merritt@ucsd.edu or mailcode 0043.
  • OPVSA will review documents for accuracy and completeness, complete the shaded areas, enter the data into the PPS, and retain all forms.
  • The campus will send the enrollment information to UCOP each month.  UCOP will then create an FTP file to be accessed once each month by the insurance carriers.  It is important to note that if the information is not entered into PPS prior to the information being retrieved by UCOP, the Postdoctoral Scholar will not be active in the carriers’ systems until the following month. 
  • The insurance carriers will access and load the enrollment data into their systems and send Evidence of Coverage booklets and identification cards to the Postdoctoral Scholars’ home address.
  • The coverage will begin on the Appointment/Fellowship start date listed on the Enrollment form.

International Postdoctoral Scholars

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. 

Termination of Coverage

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:

  • Submit Enrollment/Change form (noting early cancellation) to Merritt Bradford in OPVSA, merritt@ucsd.edu or mailcode 0043.
  • Enter the appointment termination in PPS and send a PAN to Merritt Bradford "sdorameb"
  • Instruct the postdoc to contact Garnett-Powers to receive COBRA information.
  • Complete Unemployment Form.
    • It is imperative that any termination or change in status be reported immediately to OPVSA as there are financial consequences to the department.

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, merritt@ucsd.edu 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

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, merritt@ucsd.edu or mailcode 0043.

Maternity

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.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

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:

  • Pregnancy, prenatal medical care, or childbirth
  • Your own serious health condition
  • The serious health condition of a son or daughter, spouse, domestic partner, or parent

FMLA runs concurrent to pregnancy disability leave.
Eligibility:

  • Has at least 12 cumulative months of UC service; and
  • Has worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the commencement date of the 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:

  • Academic Leave of Absence Form (ALAS) (PDF) Submit to Merritt Bradford, merritt@ucsd.edu or Mailcode 0043 in the Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs
  • Family Medical Leave paperwork (FMLA) if applicable –Submit to Payroll Department and provide copy to Merritt Bradford (mailcode 0043).

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 merritt@ucsd.edu 

Leaves

UC-UAW Contract Article 12 (Leaves of Absence)

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, merritt@ucsd.edu or mailcode 0043.

Types of Leaves and Compensation

Tax Information

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.

Withholding

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.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents

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

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.

Taxability of health care benefits for fellow and paid-direct categories

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 ---
  1. Imputed income due to the coverage of a domestic partner will be reported on the Form W-2 of the Postdoctoral Employee.
  2. Imputed income due to the coverage of a domestic partner will be reported on the Form 1042-S of a nonresident alien Postdoctoral Employee who is eligible to claim a tax treaty benefit; if not, the income is reported on a Form W-2.
  3. Imputed income due to the coverage of a domestic partner will be reported on the Form 1042-S and Form 592-B of a nonresident alien Postdoctoral Fellow or Paid Direct.  
  4. If the individual is from a country that has entered into a tax treaty with the U.S. and that treaty contains an exclusion for fellowship payments, the individual is not subject to tax on the benefits, including domestic partner benefits, and no income tax withholding is required.  The amount of the benefits is reported, however, on Form 1042-S.

NRSA Policy Guidelines on Taxability of Stipends (as of 2006)

Taxability of Stipends

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.

Where to Obtain Forms, Instructions And Publications

  • Federal (IRS) - Federal Tax Withholding Calculator at irs.gov (enter “calculator” in Search IRS Site)
  • CA State
  • Some IRS Publications that may assist you in filing your return are:
    • Publication Your Federal Income Tax
    • Publication 505 Tax Withholding & Estimated Tax

Library Privileges

Postdoctoral Scholars are entitled to the use of all campus libraries and access is via the campus ID card. To activate the card for library access, present it at the Geisal Library.

Parking and Transportation

  • Postdocs are eligible to purchase an "A", "B" or "S" parking permits. 
  • Postdoctoral Scholar-Employee may sign up for monthly payroll deduction. 
  • Postdoctoral Scholar-Fellow and Paid Directs may purchase permits at the parking office for three months at a time or the remainder of the fiscal year in full. Parking accepts cash, check, credit card and triton plus card.
  • Postdocs are eligible to purchase discounted bus passes (with campus id card) or receive a free UCSD/SDT bus sticker.
  • More information

Auditing Courses and Seminars

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.  

  • Postdoctoral Scholars are eligible to receive UCSD employee discounts for Extension courses
  • Postdoctoral Scholars are eligible to take courses through HR Enrollment Central
  • Postdoctoral Scholars are not eligible for the UC registration and educational discount program.

Services

Counseling Services

Postdocs are eligible to access counseling services offered by the Faculty and Staff Assistance ProgramFSAP offers a variety of services and resources to help individuals and departments with a range of issues, including trauma recovery, wellness, grief, and violence.

  • Confidential individual sessions
  • Counseling, assessment, referral, and client advocacy
  • Conflict resolution
  • Eldercare resources and support
  • Brief, solution-oriented counseling and case management covering issues such as anxiety, alcohol- or drug-related concerns, depression, emotional problems, family concerns, financial difficulties, gambling, legal problems, occupational decisions, stress, marital or other relationship difficulties, violence
  • Location: FSAP is in Torrey Pines Center South, Suite 406, across North Torrey Pines Road from the northwest end of campus (map). Shuttle service from campus is available via the Campus Loop Shuttle.
  • Hours: FSAP is open weekdays from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Appointments in the early morning or after 5 p.m. can be arranged with individual counselors.  For more information on the above services, call (858) 534-5523.

Request for Postdoc Certificate

To order a postdoctoral scholar study certificate, please send an email to opsa@ucsd.edu and in the subject line enter “certificate request.”  In the body of the email include the following information:

  • Your FULL name
  • Current department name
  • Mentor's name
  • Period of appointment (begin and end)
  • Area of study and/or research project
  • Department mailcode where we will send the completed certificate.

If you have any questions, please contact Merritt Bradford at OPVSA, merritt@ucsd.edu or (858) 534-3553.