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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.

1

Understand UC’s benefits eligibility rules for domestic partners

Important changes for 2019: Beginning with this year’s Open Enrollment (Oct. 25 – Nov. 20, 2018), with coverage effective Jan. 1, 2019, those who are eligible for UC benefits will be able to enroll their domestic partners and their partners’ eligible dependents as long as the relationship meets established criteria. The current age 62 requirement for opposite-gender domestic partners (see first bullet below) will no longer apply.

Another change for 2019 will simplify the process for establishing your domestic partner’s eligibility for UCRP benefits. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, domestic partners who are enrolled in medical, dental and/or vision benefits will automatically be designated as survivor for UCRP benefits, subject to additional eligibility requirements. If you enroll your domestic partner for benefits and successfully complete the family member eligibility verification process, you do not need to submit a Declaration of Domestic Partnership for Purposes of UC Retirement Plan Benefits (UBEN 250).

Please note that enrolling your partner in benefits such as Accidental Death & Dismemberment or Legal Insurance that do not require completion of the eligibility verification process will not establish your partner as your survivor for UCRP benefits. See #3 below for other approved methods for establishing your domestic partnership for UCRP benefits.

Two important points:

  • Health and welfare benefits — According to current rules (effective through Dec. 31, 2018), 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. Beginning, Jan. 1, 2019, the age 62 requirement for opposite gender partners will no longer apply.
  • UCRP benefits — There is no age 62 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.”

2

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 (applicable through 2018 only; see #1 above for more information about 2019 eligibility rules)

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 the proof requested, your partner and your partner’s eligible dependents, if applicable, 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.

Employees use the UPAY850 form and retirees use the UBEN100 form to enroll.

3

Establish your domestic partner for purposes of UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) survivor and death benefits

There are several 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 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 250PDF) with UC Human Resources Records Management (P.O. Box 24570, Oakland, CA 94623-1570), and provide requested supporting documentation. Please note that 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 separate UBEN 250 forms, signed by both partners.
  • Effective Jan. 1, 2019: Enroll your domestic partner in medical, dental and/or vision benefits, and successfully complete the eligibility verification process.

If you and your partner are both UC employees — enrolling your partner as an eligible family member for UC health benefits establishes your partner as your survivor for UCRP benefits, subject to additional eligibility requirements. Your partner must actively designate you as their domestic partner by one of the three methods described above.

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.)

4

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.

5

Update your beneficiaries.

You can change your beneficiaries online. Change your UC Retirement Plan (including Pension Choice) and insurance plan beneficiaries on AYS Online. Change your Savings Choice plan and Retirement Savings Program beneficiaries on the myUCretirement website.