University of Southern California

USC Benefits

Starting your USC benefits

Your employee benefits include a broad range of programs to help protect the health, wealth and future of you and your family. The university invests some $360.7 million each year to provide these benefits to you, and they represent an important and substantial component of your overall compensation package.


All about dependents

Who are your eligible dependents?

  • Spouse or registered domestic partner (the portion paid by the university for your domestic partner's benefits is considered imputed income to you, and corresponding taxes come out of every paycheck unless you claim your domestic partner on your taxes)
  • Children up to age 26
  • Dependent children, regardless of age, who are totally disabled due to mental or physical incapacity (the Plan may, from time-to-time, request an updated disabled status verification)

Eligibility ends if any of the conditions above cease to exist (for instance, child turns 26).

How do you verify your eligible dependents?

The following are the acceptable documents to verify your dependent relationships. Copies of this documentation must be submitted to Benefits. Tuition Assistance carries additional restrictions.

    Spouse

  • Marriage certificate that contains official seal of issuing government agency and is an exact copy of original on file at issuing agency
  • Registered domestic partner

  • Domestic partnership certificate that contains official seal of issuing government agency and is an exact copy of original on file at issuing agency
  • Biological child

  • Birth certificate that contains official seal of issuing government agency and is an exact copy of original on file at issuing agency, verifying that the sponsoring employee is the mother or father of the child
  • Adopted child

  • Birth certificate that contains official seal of issuing government agency and is an exact copy of original on file at issuing agency, modified as part of the adoption proceedings to show that the sponsoring employee is the adoptive parent
  • Stepchild

  • Birth certificate that contains official seal of issuing government agency and is an exact copy of original on file at issuing agency, verifying that the sponsoring employee's spouse or registered domestic partner is the parent of the child, AND
  • marriage or domestic partnership certificate (as described in "Spouse" and "Registered domestic partner" sections above) verifying marriage or domestic partnership of sponsoring employee to or with child's parent
  • Legal guardianship with financial dependency

  • Certified copy of court orders stating that sponsoring employee is legal guardian of child, AND
  • marriage or domestic partnership certificate (as described in "Spouse" and "Registered domestic partner" sections above) verifying marriage or domestic partnership of sponsoring employee to or with child's parent
  • Legal guardianship with financial dependency

  • Certified copy of court orders stating that sponsoring employee is legal guardian of child, AND
  • most recent tax forms filed with the IRS in which child is claimed as a dependent (Execution of Power of Attorney papers granting said powers to a non-parent or an award of temporary custody to a non-parent are not the equivalent of legal guardianship)

Submit documentation via fax, mail or hand delivery. Scanned documents submitted via email are also acceptable, but for your own protection please do not email documents that contain Social Security numbers. See Who we are.

I don't have that documentation yet. What can I do?

The university recognizes that receipt of government-issued documentation can sometimes take several months. Do not delay enrolling in your benefits while you wait! Provisional documentation can be accepted in some cases, providing for temporary enrollment. However, failure to provide final official documentation (as outlined above) within three months of the effective date of benefits coverage will result in cancellation of enrollment.

Examples of provisional documentation include, for marriage, a copy of application for marriage license, or a copy of a church certificate. For birth, a copy of a letter from the hospital that is often given to parents would work. Contact Benefits for more information.


Paying your share

The employee portion of the cost of your benefits is paid through payroll deduction or reduction (before tax payments). Employees who are paid monthly pay in 12 equal deductions. Employees who are paid biweekly pay in 24 equal deductions, which are taken the first 2 pay periods of each month (2 paychecks a year will have no medical/dental deduction).

Payroll deductions pay for the majority of the following month's coverage (including all medical and dental benefits). Usually, a new employee will experience a double deduction for their first monthly premium (or for 2 paychecks for biweekly employees). More information about how deductions work is available at www.usc.edu/payroll, or contact Benefits.

Faculty who receive annual base pay in fewer than 12 equal installments must pay in advance for the summer continuation of all benefits. If no other arrangements are made, a single deduction will be taken from the April payroll to cover premiums for May, June, July and August (4x calendar year monthly premium rates). The September premium will be taken from the August paycheck.

Alternatively, faculty may elect to have summer premiums deducted from summer salary (summer teaching, etc.) if applicable. More information is available by contacting Benefits.


If you already have medical coverage

Waiving coverage because of other health insurance
If you are declining enrollment for yourself or your dependents (including your spouse) because of other health insurance or group plan coverage, you may be able to enroll yourself and your dependents in a university health plan if you or your dependents lose eligibility for that other coverage (or if the employer stops contributing toward your or your dependents' other coverage). However, you must request enrollment within 30 days after your or your dependents' other coverage ends (or the employer stops contributing).

    Conditions of special enrollment

  1. When coverage was declined or waived, employee or dependent stated in writing that other coverage was the reason for the waiver.
  2. If the other coverage was COBRA coverage, then the COBRA coverage must be exhausted for the special enrollment to apply.
  3. If the other coverage was not COBRA coverage, then the other coverage must terminate because of one of the following reasons:
    1. Employer contributions toward the coverage have been terminated, or
    2. Loss of eligibility under the other coverage
      1. Divorce or legal separation
      2. Cessation of dependent status (such as attaining the maximum age to be eligible as a dependent child under the plan)
      3. Death of an employee
      4. Termination of employment or reduction in the number of hours of employment
      5. In the case of coverage offered through an HMO, or other arrangement, in the group market that does not provide benefits to individuals who no longer reside, live, or work in a service area (whether or not within the choice of the individual), and no other benefit package is available to the individual
      6. A situation in which an individual incurs a claim that would meet or exceed a lifetime limit on all benefit plans
      7. A situation in which a plan no longer offers any benefits to the class of similarly situated individuals that includes the individual

Not covered is loss of coverage due to failure on the individual's part to pay premiums on a timely basis, or termination of coverage for cause, such as fraudulent claims and/or intentional misrepresentation of a material fact in connection with the plan. Such loss of eligibility may be disclosed by a health plan to a benefit department as termination of enrollment for cause and is specifically permitted under the Privacy rule. A termination of enrollment of dependent or employee for cause from one health plan will result in loss of eligibility for enrollment in any other health plan.

In addition, if you have a new dependent as a result of marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption, you may be able to enroll yourself and your dependents. However, you must request enrollment within 30 days after the marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption.

In this section

Important!

  • You must enroll for your benefits online within 30 days of your hire date. Once you do that, most of your benefits will take effect on the first day of the following month. CNA and NUHW employees: Your benefits will take effect on the 31st day after your hire date.
  • Generally, USC will begin making contributions to your retirement plan after you've met the eligibility period of 6 months.
  • After 12 months, you're eligible for supplemental disability.

Definitions

Staff employees are regularly scheduled to work 50% or more of full time (based on 40, 37.5 or 32 hour workweeks) on a continuous basis, and are hired into posted positions. Employees classified as per diem, resource or Trojan Encore are not eligible for benefits.

Faculty employees are those appointed members of the teaching and research staffs holding the tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty titles defined in the Faculty Handbook. Academic staff such as graduate assistants (teaching, laboratory or research assistants or associates; assistant lecturers), distinguished practitioners or other affiliated academic staff are not designated as faculty.

Registered domestic partners are both members of the same sex, OR over age 62 (one or both). Both must be capable of consenting to the partnership, AND they must have a certificate of domestic partnership issued by a government entity. For more information, visit www.sos.ca.gov/dpregistry.

Switching your benefits

If you have medical coverage through your former employer or have continued that coverage yourself through COBRA, make sure that your coverage doesn't lapse until your new medical coverage starts at USC. Medical coverage is effective the first of the month following approval of your enrollment transaction.

Funds from your prior employer's retirement plans may be eligible to rollover into USC's Supplemental Retirement Plan. Funds rolled over will be subject to all of USC's plan rules, including rules on accessing balances. Contact Benefits for information.

Related sections

Social Security number requirement for dependents

The Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (MMSEA) imposes a reporting requirement on group health plans that cover participants who are either currently eligible or may become Medicare-eligible. As a result, all employees who have dependents enrolled in a USC health plan will be required to provide the social security number for each of those dependents. New hires who wish to enroll dependents will also be required to provide the dependents' social security numbers before enrollment in a health plan can be finalized. Contact Benefits if you have any questions.