Questions About Employee Benefits
What benefits am I eligible for as a state employee?
That depends on what union represents you and your employment status. Benefit summaries may be viewed under Benefits Overview. Consult plan documents for complete details about benefit programs or contact Human Resource Services at (518) 564-5062 for additional information.
How do I enroll for benefits if I am eligible?
When you are hired or newly eligible for benefits, you will receive a packet containing the forms and information you will need to enroll for benefits. If you do not receive this information within two weeks of your appointment to a benefits eligible position, contact Human Resource Services at (518) 564-5062. Please keep in mind that your enrollment paperwork must be received in this office within 30 days of your initial or qualifying appointment or effective dates may be delayed.
Where can I get more information on benefits as a UUP employee?
Go to the UUP website and click on “Benefits”.
Where can I get more information on benefits as a CSEA employee?
Go to the CSEA Employee Benefit Fund website to view information on dental and vision benefits (and participating providers for each) along with other benefits available to CSEA employees.
When can I change my health insurance plan?
Generally, the option/transfer period is November to December with the change of insurance or coverage effective in January. Notices regarding the option/transfer period will be sent out via e-mail.
When can I change my health coverage level (e.g. individual to family)?
Changes in health insurance coverage can be made within 30 days of a valid qualifying event. Such events include marriage, birth of a child, or a dependent child graduating or reaching the maximum age of coverage. Changes can, under certain circumstances, be made without a qualifying event but would be subject to tax penalties and an additional waiting period. Please contact your Benefits Administrator if you have any questions or need additional information.
Can health insurance be continued if I am recently divorced, or my dependent loses eligibility, or my employment ends?
Yes, through COBRA (a federal continuation of benefits program). The procedures to apply for coverage will be provided to you by the Employee Benefits Division of Civil Service if your employment ends or if a dependent (child or spouse) loses eligibility. You must notify the Employee Benefits Division in Albany of your decision to enroll in COBRA within 60 days of the date you (or your dependents) lose coverage.
How do I replace lost or stolen benefit cards?
If you are enrolled in the Empire Plan, contact Human Resource Services to request a replacement. If you are enrolled in an HMO, you must contact the member services department of the HMO.
How do I change my name or address?
If you need to change your name, address, emergency contact information or other biographic information with the College, you will need to complete an Address Change Form or Name Change Form (PDF) and any applicable forms listed therein. Legal name changes must be accompanied by acceptable proof (court order, marriage license, etc.). Employees may now also change their address using our new Self Service feature on the Employee Services Portal
I was just married, or divorced, or had a baby. What forms do I need to complete?
If you want to make changes to your health insurance coverage, you will need to submit a Health Insurance Transaction Form PS-404 (PDF). You will also need all required supporting documentation to add a dependent to your existing health insurance coverage (see required proofs here). CSEA members can update their enrollment records online at https://www.cseaebf.com/OLE/enroll.php to change their dental and vision coverage. UUP members will need to complete a UUP Benefit Trust Fund Change of Marital or Dependent Status card (available here: http://uupinfo.org/benefits/forms/btfchangestatusform.pdf). You may also want to review your beneficiaries and tax forms at this time.
How do I change the beneficiary designation on my retirement account?
It is a good idea to periodically review the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies to reflect any life changes you may have experienced (birth of a child, death of a parent, marriage, divorce, etc.). This way you can be secure in the knowledge that your wishes will be carried out in the event that anything should happen to you. If you need to change your beneficiary designation, you can contact each plan directly. You are encouraged to send a copy to Human Resource Services so that your benefit file accurately reflects the changes. You can also visit Human Resource Services to make any necessary changes.
- New York State Employees’ Retirement System (Download PDF)
- New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (Download PDF)
Can I put money aside on a pre-tax basis to pay for dependent, elder, or health care expenses?
The Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAA) is a flexible spending account program governed by the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service. The program provides State employees with the opportunity to pay for childcare, elder care, or other dependent care expenses on a pre-tax basis. Participation in this program allows employees to set aside up to $5,000 annually in pre-tax salary to pay for their dependent care expenses.
The Health Care Spending (HCS) Account is another type of flexible spending account program that allows eligible State employees to set aside from $150 to $3,000 annually in pre-tax salary to pay for health related expenses that are not reimbursed by health insurance. Medically necessary medical, dental, prescription, vision and hearing expenses for enrollees and their dependents are eligible for reimbursement.
The open enrollment period for these plans is in the fall. Participants must re-enroll each year if they wish to continue the benefit. You are advised to plan carefully each calendar year, as any money left in the account at the end of the year is forfeited. For more information or to enroll, call (800) 358-7202 or visit the Flex Spending Account website at www.flexspend.ny.gov.
I am a new employee (hired within the last year). I am having TIAA/CREF contributions withheld from my paycheck, but when I contact TIAA/CREF I am told that they have no record of me. Where is my money?
Your TIAA/CREF contracts are not vested until you have completed 366 days of service. During the first year, your contributions are held in escrow by New York State. When you complete the vesting period, your funds are sent to TIAA/CREF along with the College’s contribution. If you do not complete 366 days of employment, your 3% contribution will be refunded to you upon filing the AC 1781 (available in Human Resource Services).
I am in TIAA/CREF. How much do I contribute to my retirement and how much does the College contribute?
Contributions depend on your appointment date to State service.
Tier 1 and 2 (Hired prior to 7/27/76): Employer contributes 12% of the first $16,500 of salary per calendar year and 15% of all salary above $16,500. Employee makes no contribution.
Tier 3 and 4 (Hired between 7/27/76 and 7/16/92): Employer contributes 9% of the first $16,500 of salary per calendar year and 12% of all salary above $16,500. Employee contributes 3% of salary for the first 10 years of service; none thereafter.
Tier 5 (Hired between 7/17/92 and 3/31/12): Employer contributes 8% of salary for the first seven years of service; 10% from seven to 10 years; 13% thereafter. The employee contributes 3% of salary for the first 10 years of service; none thereafter.
Tier 6 (Hired after 3/31/12): Employer contributes 8% of salary for the first seven years of service and 10% thereafter. The employee contribution rate is based on annual salary rate as follows:
$0 - $45,000: 3%
$45,000.01 - $55,000: 3.5%
$55,000.01 - $75,000: 4.5%
$75,000.01 - $100,000: 5.75%
Can I continue my health insurance into retirement?
Yes, if you meet the eligibility requirements. To learn about health insurance continuation in retirement, please consult Retiree Health Insurance on NYSHIP Online or contact the Health Benefits Administrator in Human Resource Services at 564-5062 for additional assistance.
How often can I change my SRA or TDA contribution level?
You can change the amount being deducted from your paycheck as often as you would like by accessing Retirement@Work for either a Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) or a Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA).
If I take an early withdrawal from my supplemental retirement annuity (SRA) before I retire will I have to pay New York State Taxes on it?
Not if you have reached age 59-½ when you make the withdrawal. Since January 1, 1982, Section 612 (c)(3a) of the New York State Tax Law has provided a state tax exemption on the first $20,000 of pension and annuity income received by an individual who has attained age 59-½ and resides in the State of New York. This is in addition to the fact that Section 612 (c)(3)(i) of the NYS Tax Law provides that regular pensions provided by the State, its subdivisions and agencies [ie., NYS Teachers' Retirement System, NYS Employees' Retirement System, Optional Retirement System (ORP)] are not subject to New York State Income Taxes.
Can I take my money out of my SRA, TDA, or my Optional Retirement Program Retirement Annuity (RA)?
Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) funds are available to you while continuing in employment and upon separation from service, subject to early withdrawal penalties if you take them out before age 59- ½. Also, you pay income tax on the distributions in the year that you take them. Optional Retirement Program (ORP) Retirement Annuity (RA) funds are available through new loan provisions. Contact Human Resource Services for more information. Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) funds are governed by the same rules as SRA funds.
How do I get more information about the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan?
You can call the Helpline at (800) 422-8463 (Monday-Friday: 8am – 11pm; Saturday: 9am – 6pm, except holidays) or visit their website at www.nysdcp.com.
Human Resource Services
Address: 101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901-2681
Campus Location: Kehoe 912
Phone: (518) 564-5062
Fax: (518) 564-5060
Monday - Friday 7:30 am - 4:30 pm