Establishing a domestic partnership
The University of California has been a leader in offering benefits to domestic partners. As you settle into your life together, we recommend you update your personal information. You may also want to enroll your partner in your benefits. Here are a few things to consider.
Understand UC’s benefits eligibility rules for domestic partners
Note that the health and welfare eligibility requirements for same-gender partners and opposite-gender partners are different from the eligibility requirements of the UC Retirement Plan.
Two important points:
- Health and welfare benefits — Opposite-gender domestic partners are only eligible for health and welfare benefits if the employee or the domestic partner is 62 or older. For same-gender domestic partners, there is no age requirement for health and welfare benefits eligibility.
- UCRP benefits — There is no age requirement for eligibility for UCRP survivor and death benefits for same-gender or opposite-gender domestic partners, but your domestic partnership must be established by an approved method (see #3 below).
Details on both requirements are found in the booklet “Benefits for Domestic Partners.”
Enroll your partner in health and welfare benefits.
You have 31 days from the date your partner first meets the eligibility requirements to add your partner to your health coverage or enroll your partner in life insurance. Depending on your circumstances, your partner may meet the eligibility requirements, and the 31-day window for making benefits changes may begin, when (for example):
- Your partnership is registered with the State of California or other jurisdiction
- You and your partner begin to share a common residence
- You and your partner become financially interdependent (e.g., purchase a car or home together)
- Your opposite-gender domestic partner turns 62
While no documentation of eligibility is required to enroll and start coverage, you will receive a Family Member Eligibility Verification packet which will require you to provide proof of your partnership in order to continue the coverage. If you do not provide proof, your partner will be disenrolled.
Remember, if your partner also works at UC, you can be covered under your UC benefits or your partner’s, but not both. If you decide to cover both of you under your benefits, be sure your partner disenrolls from his/her benefits.
If you drop your UC medical coverage to go on your partner's plan and your partner loses his or her job, you can re-enroll in UC coverage within 31 days of losing your partner’s coverage.
Establish your domestic partner for purposes of UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) survivor and death benefits
There are three ways to establish your domestic partnership for UCRP (any single method is sufficient):
- Registration of your domestic partnership with the State of California;
- Registration of your same-gender union, other than marriage, in another jurisdiction that is substantially equivalent to a California domestic partnership; or
- Sign and file a UC Declaration of Domestic Partnership (UBEN 250) with UC Human Resources Records Management (P.O. Box 24570, Oakland, CA 94623-1570). Please note that the both the UCRP member and the domestic partner must sign the UBEN 250 form. If both you and your domestic partner are employees eligible for UCRP, you must each submit a separate UBEN 250, signed by both partners.
While establishing your partnership for UCRP benefits can be done at any time, it is very important to know that if you pass away before doing so, your partner cannot be considered for UCRP benefits.
Some UCRP survivor and death benefits, including preretirement survivor benefits and post-retirement survivor benefits, require an established domestic partnership of at least one year. However, there is no one-year partnership requirement for benefits paid to your domestic partner if you die while eligible to retire, as long as the partnership has been established through one of the above methods.
(Please note that if you are eligible for the UC Retirement Choice Program and elect Savings Choice, it does not include UCRP survivor or death benefits, so it is not necessary to establish your partnership with UC. However, the vested balance of your Savings Choice account can be left to your beneficiaries, as explained in #5.)
Understand the tax implications of enrolling your partner in your health benefits.
The value of UC's portion of your medical, dental and vision coverage for anyone who is not your tax dependent is considered imputed income and may be subject to FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes, federal income tax and any other required payroll tax. Read more about imputed income here.
If you decide to change your tax withholding, you can do so online.