Benefits FAQs

General Benefits

If your start date is on the first working day of the month, benefits go into effect as of that date. If your start date is not on the first working day of the month, benefits go into effect on the first of the following month.

This activity must adhere to the criteria utilized for life events (i.e., loss or gain of domestic partner’s medical, dental, and/or vision coverage). Complete the change of status form and attach a copy of the appropriate documentation. Documentation must be received within 30 days of the event.

No. Health benefits are only able to be updated online during the open enrollment period each fall.

The annual election of health insurance, known as the Benelect open enrollment period, begins in early November and ends on November 30. Look for announcements in the daily newsletter in late September/early October.

Employees can expect ID cards to arrive at their home address approximately 2-3 weeks after turning in the paperwork. If temporary ID cards are needed sooner, please contact the HR Service Center at 216.368.6964.

Two of our providers, VSP (vision) and the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, do not issue ID cards. Provide your name, date of birth, and/or Social Security number and they will be able to find you in their systems when you make an appointment.

Employees can login to HCM and navigate to Main Menu>Self Service>Benefits>Benefits to see their current benefits selected. Employees can change the effective date to check on future enrollments or past.

Employees can access PeopleSoft HCM by visiting

As part of the Affordable Care Act, the university is required to issue an IRS document – Form 1095. This form provides you with information about the health insurance coverage you had or were offered during the tax year.

Generally, Form 1095-C and Form 1095-B are not required for the preparation of your tax return, nor does the form need to be attached to your tax filing. However, some tax preparers ask for it, so employees should keep the Form 1095 with their tax records.

Yes.  All benefit-eligible individuals will receive this form whether or not they used one of the insurance options during the previous tax year.

Benefit-eligible employees will receive the Form 1095-C via mail, which will be sent to the address listed in the HCM system. (You can update addresses through the HCM system by navigating to Self Service > Personal Information > Home and Mailing Address).

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

Employees can access their FSA funds by using their MyBenny debit card to pay for eligible expenses right away or by submitting the Reimbursement Claim form to Meritain.

Claims can be faxed to 888.837.3725 or mailed to: Meritain Health, PO Box 30111, Lansing MI 48909.

Charges are reimbursed by date of service. Receipt or itemized bill showing date(s) of service, type of service, and charge(s) must be attached to the claim form in order to receive reimbursement.

Reimbursement should occur within 3 to 10 days. Checks are sent by Meritain once a week so it depends upon when the claims are received by Meritain Health.

The check is mailed to your home. Meritain Health also offers direct deposit of reimbursements – to enable this you must complete the Meritain FSA Direct Deposit Authorization Form and submit it to the vendor.

Contact Meritain Health at 800.566.9305.

Qualified dependent care expenses include baby sitter, day care center, nursery school, after-school care, home health care worker, and care for eligible adult. For businesses, an EIN number will need to be provided. For an individual, a Social Security number will need to be provided.

Employees have until March 15th of the following year to use the funds from the FSA from the previous year. Any funds not used in this time frame will be lost and non-refundable.

If using the prior year’s funds, employees will need to use the Flexible Spending Account Reimbursement Claim form located on the HR Benefits webpage. Any expenses using the debit card will be deducted from the current year’s funds.

Medical Insurance

Medical coverage is offered through four plans: Anthem PPO, Anthem High Deductible, Medical Mutual PPO, and MMO CLE-Care HMO.

Dental coverage is offered through two plans: Dentemax and Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.

Vision coverage is offered through VSP.

Employees can compare these plans using the Benelect Guide and price sheets.

Part-time employees are eligible for insurance if they work at least half time. Half time is defined as twenty (20) hours per week for forty (40) hour/week staff (exempt and non-exempt), and 18.75 hours per week for 37.5 hour/week non-exempt staff.

Monthly employee contributions are charged based on whether the employee is considered to be 50% or 75%. Non-exempt employees who work 18.75-27.9 hours per week, and exempt employees and non-exempt employees in a 40 hour/week position who work 20-29.9 hours per week, are considered 50% time. Non-exempt employees who work 28-37.4 hours per week and exempt employees and non-exempt employees in a 40 hour/week position who work 30-39.9 hours per week are considered 75% time. View the price sheets in the Benelect Guide.

Coverage is available through VSP.

Staff members (SG 17 and below) are eligible for short-term disability after 90 days of service. After the employee has been on unpaid leave for 14 days, short-term disability pays 50 percent of salary, up to a maximum of $400 per week. The benefit covers up to 26 weeks of disability.

Faculty, senior staff (SG 18 and above), and executive staff (ungraded positions) are not eligible for short-term disability.

The university contributes varying amounts of money towards the purchase of selected benefits. The shared percentages are based on the number of hours worked per week, Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) employment status (exempt or non-exempt) and annual salary. Price sheets are available on the Human Resources website for review.

COBRA benefits can be utilized in the event of a layoff, termination, dependent child reaching the age of 26, or an employee falling below 50% time (18.75 hours per week for non-exempt employees working a 37.5 hour/week position, and 20 hours per week for exempt employees and non-exempt employees working a 40 hour/week position).

Making Changes to Plans and Coverage

Review the PDF version of the Benelect Guide. New plans and changes to existing plans are announced via campus emails, the daily newsletter, and during the annual Benefits Fair.

The employee would need to complete the Change of Status form and provide a copy of the marriage certificate. Documentation must be received within 30 days of the event.

First, changes must be requested as a result of a life event (marriage, divorce, spouse/ equivalent gain/ loss of insurance, birth/ adoption of a child, or change in status such as part-time to full-time or vice versa). The employee must complete the Change of Status form and provide documentation proving the change.  Appropriate documentation includes:

  • Marriage: Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce: Divorce Decree
  • New Baby: Birth Certificate or Proof of Birth Letter issued by the hospital.
  • Loss/Gain Coverage: Letter from company stating the names of all affected individuals, the type of coverage lost/gained (e.g. medical, vision, dental), and the date coverage was lost/gained.

Adding anyone who was not previously covered by Case Western Reserve University will also require dependent documents.  Dependent document requirements are available on the Forms page.

All paperwork and documentation must be received within thirty (30) days of the event.

Employees would need to update their beneficiaries on their life insurance, Plan B Pension, and their retirement account(s).

Life insurance beneficiaries can be updated by filling out the Life Beneficiary Designation form. This should be returned to Human Resources by fax at 216.368.3582 or in person to Crawford 320. Please note this change will not be noted in HCM. The form goes into the employee’s file and will take precedence over any previously submitted forms.

Plan B Pension beneficiaries can be changed by filling out the Retirement Plan B Beneficiary Designation form. This should be returned to Human Resources by fax at 216.368.3582 or in person to Crawford 320.

Beneficiaries for retirement accounts through TIAA or Vanguard need to be updated on the employee’s individual account through the carrier’s website.

Tuition Benefits

Tuition waiver and tuition reimbursement are available educational benefits.

Tuition waiver can be utilized by employees, spouses/domestic partners, and dependent children for coursework taken at Case Western Reserve University. Tuition reimbursement is only available to employees.

Tuition waiver can be utilized by employees, spouses/domestic partners, and dependent children for coursework taken at Case Western Reserve University.

Tuition reimbursement can be utilized only by employees for job related course work taken at degree granting institutions other than Case Western Reserve University.

Eligible employees must be employed by August 1 for fall semester courses, January 1 for spring semester courses, and June 1 for summer semester courses.

For spouses/domestic partners, eligibility is the semester following one year of employment with Case Western Reserve University. Dependent children are eligible under the same provisions as the employee.

Acceptance to the university must be obtained and classes must be registered for before the tuition benefits can be utilized. After those are completed, the Certification of Tuition Waiver form should be filled out and returned to Human Resources by email at, fax at 216.368.4678, or in person at Crawford 320.

If the waiver is for an employee taking job related graduate courses, they will also need to fill out the Affidavit of Qualification for Tuition Waiver Tax Exemption form in order to avoid being taxed. Graduate courses that are not job related are taxable to the employee.

If the waiver is for a spouse/domestic partner, the marriage certificate/affidavit of domestic partnership will need to be provided when they first register.

If the waiver is for a dependent child, proof of dependency must be provided when they first register and every fall semester. Proof of dependency would be fulfilled with a copy of the most recent Form 1040 (tax return form). If the child is not listed on Form 1040, the Child’s Proof of Dependency Affidavit form can also be submitted.

For employees, your supervisor must sign the Tuition Waiver form regardless of the coursework. Your supervisor does not sign for spouse or dependent child waivers.

Full-time employees may receive up to 6 credit hours in fall and spring semesters and up to 3 credit hours in summer semester. The semester credit hours are prorated for part-time employees.

Spouses/domestic partners may receive 8 full time semesters or part-time equivalent up to 120 credit hours paid at 50% of the undergraduate tuition rate if matriculated (25% of the undergraduate rate if a non-degree student). Dependents may receive 8 full time semesters or part- time equivalent up to 120 credit hours; must be matriculated students. Full undergraduate tuition is waived. Graduate/professional program tuition is waived at 50% of the undergraduate rate.

Tuition Waiver forms and supporting documentation are due no later than the first day of classes each semester.

Graduate-level coursework taken by the employee is taxable unless the courses are job-related. All coursework taken by spouses/domestic partners and any graduate coursework taken by dependent children is also taxable to the employee.

Yes. Employees of the university can utilize Tuition Reimbursement when taking courses at other institutions. The courses must be job related and there must be a reason the employee is unable to take the courses at CWRU (i.e. scheduling conflict or the courses are not available).

In order to be reimbursed, employees must be employed by the university at the start of their class and remain employed throughout the duration of the course. If employment from CWRU terminates before their class is over, they are no longer eligible for reimbursement.

Employees must submit a Tuition Reimbursement form, a copy of the course schedule, and a copy of the tuition bill when the course begins. A grade report will then need to be submitted after the course has been completed. Courses with grades of “C” or higher will be reimbursed with a maximum yearly benefit of $2,500.

The Tuition Reimbursement Form needs to be submitted each quarter/semester as needed.

Tuition reimbursement is limited to $2,500 per fiscal year for full-time employees. Part-time employees’ tuition reimbursement is pro-rated.

Case Western Reserve University is part of the Tuition Exchange ( consortium of more than 600 colleges and universities providing tuition scholarships to dependents of benefits-eligible university employees who are planning on attending other participating universities. The program is managed by the Financial Aid office and all questions should be directed to them. A program overview, along with the application and Eligibility Certification Forms, are available on the University Financial Aid website.

Tuition Exchange is available to first-time first-year, transfer and continuing students without a bachelor’s degree who meet the dependent child criteria defined in the Faculty/Staff Tuition Benefit requirements.

To maintain balance between exports (CWRU faculty and staff students) and imports (students coming to CWRU with a Tuition Exchange scholarship) as required by Tuition Exchange, CWRU sets a number each year who will be certified for export for the following Tuition Exchange year based on previous Tuition Exchange participation. For example, Certification for Tuition Exchange was limited to 40 students for the fall of 2017. Eligibility is determined based on the number of years, months and days of continuous, full-time, benefits-eligible service at CWRU.

For more information about the Tuition Exchange scholarship program, please review the program information from Financial Aid.

Tuition Exchange scholarships are not guaranteed, nor is admission guaranteed at member institutions. Dependent students of university faculty and staff will be evaluated for admission and awarded Tuition Exchange scholarships based on the criteria of the university to which they are applying.

Tuition Exchange scholarships certified by Case Western Reserve University typically cover four years or eight semesters of undergraduate education, but you should check with the host college or university. Dependent children are eligible to receive up to eight combined semesters of Tuition Exchange scholarship and faculty/ staff tuition benefit, so utilization of a Tuition Exchange scholarship reduces a dependent child's benefit available under the faculty/staff tuition benefit program.

Establish eligibility by completing the Eligibility Certification Form and returning the form along with any additional required documents to Human Resources in Crawford Hall, 2nd floor.

The University Financial Aid office will notify eligible applicants by November 1. Tuition Exchange applications must then be completed and submitted to Financial Aid no later than April 1. Be sure to apply for admission to the host colleges/ universities you have listed on the Tuition Exchange application. Pay careful attention to deadlines at the host institutions, as these often differ from regular admission deadlines.

An employee must submit an Eligibility Certification form before October 1 for consideration for the scholarship the following fall.

Retirement Benefits

Case Western Reserve offers retirement benefits to benefit-eligible faculty and staff. For additional details about the retirement plans, please visit the Human Resources website and navigate to Benefits > Retirement.

Faculty, executive staff, and senior staff participate in a 403(b) retirement plan that provides a salary-based employer contribution to the each participant’s account (e.g. Plan A non- contributory). Faculty, executive staff, and senior staff may also contribute to Plan A supplemental without university contribution.

Staff employees hired prior to July 1, 2015 participate in a pension plan that provides a benefit based on salary and years of service (e.g. Plan B). Staff employees hired on or after July 1, 2015, participate in a 403(b) retirement plan that provides a salary-based employer contribution to each participant’s account (e.g. Plan C non-contributory).

Staff employees, regardless of hire date, can receive employer matching contributions on voluntary salary deferrals elected by the participant. The university matches 50 percent on the first 4 percent of salary contributed by the employee in the tax-deferred option only.  There is no university match on the employee contribution to the Roth option (e.g. Plan C supplemental).

Case Western Reserve University accepts rollovers from compatible plans including 401(k), 403(b), 401(a), and PRS. IRAs are not accepted. Contact the HR Service Center at 216.368.6964 for further information.

You may leave your funds in the account, roll them over to an IRA, or cash out the account any time after termination. Please note that cash withdrawals may incur penalties.

If an employee has a financial hardship, a request can be made to access funds. If approved, the retirement account will be terminated for six (6) months. The employee will have to re-enroll at that time. Requests due to financial hardship must meet strict criteria such as foreclosure, delinquent school bills, etc.

Employee should contact TIAA or Vanguard directly to explore retirement options.

It becomes a part of your estate and will go to your designated beneficiary.

In accordance with IRS regulations and plan provisions, following termination from employment you could:

  1. Leave the funds in the plan where they will continue to be invested as you have elected. You would not be able to add any new contributions, but would be able to manage your investments
  2. Take distribution as a direct rollover to another qualifying employer’s plan or to a qualifying Individual Retirement Account (IRA) without being subject to tax withholding or early withdrawal penalty
  3. Take as a “cash” distribution (paid directly to you) which is subject to immediate 20% tax withholding and an IRS 10% early withdrawal penalty. At the end of that tax year you would receive a 1099-R in order to calculate, report and pay the penalty with your annual tax filing.

See the TIAA/CWRU website for investment options at

Information can be obtained via their website at Several phone numbers are available via the website based upon your need. A general customer service number is 800.842.2776.

Complete a new Salary Reduction Agreement:

Information can be obtained via their website at Several phone numbers are available via the website based upon your need. A general customer service number is 800.523.1188.

The staff pension plan (known as Plan B) provides a retirement benefit to staff employees who were hired prior to July 1, 2015. Staff are eligible after one year of service with Case Western Reserve or upon employment with at least one year of service from another university or related research institution. Benefits vest after three years of service. Further details are provided through the Human Resources website (navigate to Benefits > Retirement).

The pension benefit amount is based on your salary and years of service.

Effective July 1, 2008, three (3) years after date of hire. Employees who terminated prior to July 1, 2008, had to be employed for five (5) years to be vested.

Your account will remain with the university until you become eligible.

It becomes a part of your estate and will go to your designated beneficiary.

The earliest you can receive pension benefits is age 65, or if you are at least 55 years of age and have 15 years of service. If you take the latter option benefits will be reduced.

No benefits are payable until retirement age.

Case Western Reserve University’s tax-deferred plan can be rolled into a traditional IRA while the after-tax plan can be rolled into a ROTH account.

In order to rollover funds the [former] employee will need to wait until contributions from their final pay have been posted to their account and then contact TIAA or Vanguard and request a distribution/rollover form. This form includes specific instructions on contacting the new plan for their distribution form, how to obtain the check, the correct format in which to make the check payable to, and what information needs to be included with it.

The employee will first need to enroll in Case Western Reserve University’s supplemental plan (not just the university contributory portion) and set up their account with their selected carrier. Once the account is set up, they will need to request a Rollover Contribution form (one for each account they are rolling over) from their selected carrier. This form includes specific instructions on how to obtain a check from the previous plan administrator, the correct format in which to make the check payable to, and what information needs to be included with it.

The employee will then contact the carrier administering the previous plan to obtain their distribution rollover form and request the check. Once the check is obtained, it and the completed Rollover Contribution form will need to be submitted to the new carrier according to the rollover form’s instructions.

No. TIAA does not offer a loan provision.

Yes. The employee will only have access to funds they have contributed. University-contributed funds and matching contributions are not accessible. The maximum number of active loans is two.