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Employment, Workplace Rules, Benefits and Governmental Notices

Benefits Eligibility Policy

Scope

Employees

Policy Statement

The following policy describes the general eligibility requirements that employees must satisfy in order to participate in the Syracuse University benefit plans, subject to special eligibility provisions that exist in certain of those plans. Among the plans that have special eligibility requirements are the Dependent Tuition, Remitted Tuition, Noncontributory and Voluntary Retirement, and Disability plans. Further information about the special eligibility requirements that exist in certain of the University's benefit plans is available from the Office of Human Resources.

  1. "Benefits Eligible Employees" - "Benefits Eligible Employees" of the University who are receiving compensation through the University's Syracuse, New York payroll system generally will be eligible to participate in the Syracuse University benefits plans (subject to the special eligibility requirements that may apply with respect to certain of those plans). Employees represented for collective bargaining purposes by a labor union will only be covered by a plan to the extent plan benefits have been agreed to by the applicable union and employer.

    "Benefits Eligible Employee" means an individual who satisfies the requirements of one of the classifications set forth below:

    1. "Regular Faculty Employee" - a member of the faculty of the University who: (1) has a full-time tenured or tenure-track appointment or otherwise has a single appointment to teach at least five three-credit hour courses (or the equivalent) in a single University academic unit for two or more consecutive academic years (excluding summer sessions), and who is classified as a "Regular" employee in the records of the Office of Human Resources; (2) would have been covered by the preceding item (1), but for the fact that the employee is on a leave of absence with benefits or a layoff with benefits that has been approved by the University, and provided that the employee also is classified as eligible for benefits in the Office of Human Resources; (3) is a participant in the University's Tenured Faculty Voluntary Phased Retirement Program, and who, with respect to SUBlue, SUOrange, SUPro and prescription drug benefits, is not a "highly compensated individual," as that term is defined in Section 105(h)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code;" or (4) has otherwise been classified as eligible for benefits in the records of the Office of Human Resources; or

    2. "Regular Staff Employee" - an employee of the University who is not a member of the University's faculty, and who: (1) is regularly scheduled to work either at least 37.5 hours per week for at least 8.5 months during the University's academic year, or at least 20 hours per week for 12 months during the University's fiscal year, and who with respect to either schedule is classified as a "Regular" employee in the records of the Office of Human Resources; (2) would have been covered by the preceding item (1), but for the fact the employee is on a leave of absence with benefits or a layoff with benefits that has been approved by the University, and provided that the employee is also classified as eligible for benefits in the records of the Office of Human Resources; or (3) has otherwise been classified as eligible for benefits in the records of the Office of Human Resources.

  2. Eligible Spouses, Domestic Partners and Dependents - Effective January 1, 2011, the following individuals may be eligible for benefits under certain of the Syracuse University benefits plans due to their relationship to a Benefits Eligible Employee. The Employee must be able to provide documentation of qualification in a form that is acceptable to the Office of Human Resources upon request.

    1. "Eligible Spouse" - An individual who, together with the Benefits Eligible Employee, has entered into a marriage, which is officially recognized by the United States government for federal income tax purposes. The Employee and the Eligible Spouse are able to attest that their marriage has not been dissolved or ended by divorce.

    2. "Eligible Same-Sex Spouse or Domestic Partner" - An individual who, together with the Benefits Eligible Employee, has entered into an officially recognized marriage, same-sex civil union or registered same-sex domestic partnership that has been authorized by a state, territory or foreign government. The Employee and the Eligible Same-Sex Spouse or Domestic Partner are able to attest that their marriage or same-sex civil union or registered same-sex domestic partnership has not been dissolved or ended by divorce.

      OR

      An individual who, together with the Benefits Eligible Employee, meets all of the following criteria:

      1. Is in a same-sex relationship of mutual support, caring, and commitment with the Employee, in which both intend to remain.
      2. Has been sharing a primary residence as domestic partners with the Employee for at least six continuous months unless residing in different geographical areas on a temporary basis.
      3. Is not currently married to, nor part of a civil union or domestic partnership, with anyone else, and whose Employee Domestic Partner can attest to the same.
      4. Is at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor.
      5. Is not the Employee's parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild or any blood relation that would bar marriage in the State of New York.
      6. Shares joint responsibility for one another's common welfare and basic needs for at least six continuous months, as evidenced by at least two (2) of the following for the Employee and Eligible Same-Sex Domestic Partner:
        1. named parents in a co-parenting or adoption agreement
        2. joint mortgage, lease, or title
        3. joint ownership of motor vehicle or bank account or credit card account
        4. designation of domestic partner as a primary beneficiary of employee's life insurance, retirement benefits, or will
        5. assignment of a durable Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy to one another.

    3. "Eligible Opposite-Sex Domestic Partner" - An individual who, together with the Benefits Eligible Employee, meets all of the following criteria:
      1. Is in an opposite-sex relationship of mutual support, caring, and commitment with the Employee, in which both intend to remain.
      2. Has been sharing a primary residence as domestic partner with the Employee for at least six continuous months unless residing in different geographical areas on a temporary basis.
      3. Is not currently married to, nor part of a civil union or domestic partnership, with anyone else, and whose Employee Domestic Partner can attest to the same. Has not been in a marriage with the Employee within the last three years.
      4. Is at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor.
      5. Is not the Employee's parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild or any blood relation that would bar marriage in the State of New York.
      6. Has shared joint responsibility for one another's common welfare and basic needs for at least six continuous months, as evidenced by at least two (2) of the following for the Employee and Eligible Opposite-Sex Domestic Partner:
        1. named parents in a co-parenting or adoption agreement
        2. joint mortgage, lease, or title
        3. joint ownership of motor vehicle or bank account or credit card account
        4. designation of domestic partner as a primary beneficiary of employee's life insurance, retirement benefits, or will
        5. assignment of a durable Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy to one another.

      "Eligible Domestic Partner" refers to either an Eligible Same-Sex Spouse or Domestic Partner or an Eligible Opposite-Sex Domestic Partner.

    4. "Eligible Dependent" - The Benefits Eligible Employee's dependent child must satisfy the following requirements in order to be eligible for University benefits:

      1. The Eligible Dependent must have one of the following relationships with the Benefits Eligible Employee:
        1. biological child;
        2. child of an Eligible Spouse or Eligible Domestic Partner;
        3. child for whom the Benefits Eligible Employee, Eligible Spouse or Eligible Domestic Partner has either legal custody, or has been appointed legal guardian; or
        4. adopted child or a child who has been placed with the Benefits Eligible Employee, Eligible Spouse or Eligible Domestic Partner for adoption.

      2. The Eligible Dependent must satisfy the criteria in either (a), (b) or (c) below:
        1. be younger than age 19;
        2. be younger than age 26, and prior to January 1, 2014, not have another offer of employer-based coverage (aside from coverage through another parent) provided the University's medical and prescription drug plans remain "grandfathered" as that term is defined under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA); or
        3. be incapable of working or supporting himself or herself because of mental illness, developmental disability or mental retardation (all as defined in the New York Mental Hygiene Law) or because of physical disability. The mental illness, developmental disability, mental retardation, or physical disability described in the preceding sentence must have occurred before the date the Eligible Dependent reached age 19 (or, if the Eligible Dependent was a full-time student at the time such condition occurred, the date the Eligible Dependent reached age 26). The Eligible Dependent must qualify as the tax dependent of the Benefits Eligible Employee, Eligible Spouse or Eligible Domestic Partner.

    Benefits for Eligible Spouses, Domestic Partners and Dependents could, in certain circumstances, be taxable.

  3. Enrollment of Eligible Employees, Spouses, Domestic Partners, and Dependents - Enrollment in benefits must take place within 31 days of an employee first becoming eligible for benefits, during an annual open enrollment period or within 31 days of an appropriate qualifying life event. All necessary forms and required documentation must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources within this time period.

    Qualifying life events for enrolling Eligible Employees, Spouses, Domestic Partners and Dependents include the following:

    1. Marriage, civil union, or registered domestic partnership; or for Eligible Domestic Partners, the earliest date on which the residency (b) and financial interdependence (f) criteria are satisfied;

    2. Birth, adoption, or legal guardianship of a child;

    3. Loss of benefit coverage for an Eligible Employee, Spouse, Domestic Partner or Dependent previously covered by a non-SU employer or other non-SU source.

    Coverage for an Eligible Employee, Spouse, Domestic Partner, or Dependent will be terminated upon the date he or she no longer meets the eligibility criteria for benefits (e.g., date of divorce, dissolution of marriage, civil union or registered domestic partnership, or the earliest date the Domestic Partner criteria are no longer met, as applicable). Eligible Employees must notify the Office of Human Resources and submit all necessary forms and required documentation within 31 days of the date their covered Spouse, Domestic Partner or Dependent no longer meets the eligibility criteria.

    Eligible Employees may voluntarily terminate coverage for themselves or their Eligible Spouses, Domestic Partners, and Dependents during an annual open enrollment period or within 31 days of an appropriate qualifying life event. For qualifying life events, benefits will be terminated as of the date of the event provided all necessary forms and required documentation are submitted to the Office of Human Resources within the 31 day time period.

    An Eligible Spouse's or Domestic Partner's open enrollment that includes new coverage options not previously available is considered a qualifying life event for voluntarily terminating coverage.

  4. Special Eligibility Provisions - In addition to the special eligibility requirements that apply to the Dependent Tuition, Remitted Tuition, Noncontributory and Voluntary Retirement, and Disability plans that are mentioned in the first paragraph of this policy, other plans that have special eligibility provisions include the Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Dental, Cafeteria, Severance Pay, Adoption Assistance, Group Long-Term Care, and Voluntary Group Long Term Disability plans. Special benefit eligibility requirements also exist for retirees, graduate assistants, and certain employees represented for collective bargaining purposes. A copy of the special eligibility requirements that apply with respect to a particular benefit can be obtained from the Office of Human Resources.

If there is any inconsistency between this policy (or any policy referred to in this policy) and the terms of the applicable University employee benefits plan, policy, or program, the terms of that applicable plan, policy, or program will control. As is the case with all of the University's employee benefit plans, policies, and programs, the University reserves the right to modify or terminate those plans, policies and programs from time to time.

Policy Administration

Revised Date: March 2007
October 2007
September 28, 2010


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