Benefits

In the event of a death

The death of a loved one has a profound impact on the lives of everyone around them. This includes impacts on benefits you or the deceased elected as a University of Washington employee. This resource page can help you navigate the different things to consider when a UW employee, their dependent, or a UW retiree passes away.

How to report a death

The University of Washington Benefits Office provides support to employees, retirees and family members in the event of the death of a current UW employee, dependent of a UW employee, or UW retiree. Here is some general information to assist you.

Who needs to be reported?

The death of a current UW employee or the death of a dependent of a current UW employee should be reported to the Benefits Office. The Benefits Office will assist you in understanding what impact this has to current benefits and what steps should be taken next. In the event of the death of a UW retiree, the Benefits Office can assist family members with potential impacts on retiree benefits.

When reporting a death, please be ready to provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Your Contact Information
  • Copy of the death certificate
  • Employee ID number
  • A Letter of Appointment of Executor
  • For spouses or beneficiaries: proof of identity

In the event of a death of a current UW employee, we suggest that you also notify the UW employee’s department. If you are having trouble finding the department’s contact information, let us know and we can help you.

How do I reach the UW Benefits Office?

You can call the Benefits Office at 206-543-4444 Monday – Friday from 8 am – 5 pm, or email at totalben@uw.edu. After we have been notified of the death, we will provide a Summary of Benefits letter to you.

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Medical and Dental Insurance

Death of a UW employee family member

You can review your health insurance coverage at any time in Workday to see which dependent family members are covered under your medical and/or dental insurance. If a covered dependent’s death should occur, this is considered a qualifying Life Event, which allows you to remove the dependent from your health insurance coverage within 60 days after death. Please contact the UW Integrated Service Center (ISC) to complete a PEBB Employee Change form, which will require a copy of the death certificate, and allow you to remove a covered dependent. If you are eligible for any premium refund, the ISC will process the refund. Contact the ISC at ischelp@uw.edu for questions.

Death of a UW employee

The surviving next-of-kin or executor of the estate for a deceased UW employee will find that the UW employee’s medical and/or dental insurance will end at the end of the month in which the UW employee passed away. If the UW employee was covering their spouse or dependents, the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) will send out a COBRA notice to the covered spouse and/or dependents. This will allow those covered under the deceased insurance to continue their coverage on a temporary basis. For more information on COBRA, visit the HCA. If you are eligible for any premium refund, the ISC will process any refund. Contact the ISC at ischelp@uw.edu for questions.

Death of a UW retiree

The surviving next-of-kin or executor of the estate for a deceased UW retiree will find that if the UW retiree had retiree medical and dental coverage through the state of Washington that the medical and/or dental insurance will end at the end of the month in which the UW retiree passed away. If the UW retiree elected to cover their spouse or dependents, the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) will not terminate coverage after the death of the UW retiree. This will allow those covered under the deceased insurance to continue their coverage. For more information please contact the HCA.

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Retirement plans

UW Retirement plans (UWRP & VIP)

Death of a UW employee family member

Please review and, if necessary, change your beneficiary information online by logging into your account with UW Fidelity Investments. (If you have annuities, log into your TIAA account.)

Death of a UW employee

Once identified, the spouse or beneficiary of the UW employee’s retirement account can work directly with UW Fidelity Investments and/or TIAA to request a distribution of the account. This will allow the spouse or beneficiary to either transfer the funds, or receive a distribution of the account balance.

Death of a UW retiree

Once identified, the spouse or beneficiary of the UW employee’s retirement account can work directly with UW Fidelity Investments and/or TIAA to request a distribution of the account. This will allow the spouse or beneficiary to either transfer the funds, or receive a distribution of the account balance.

Additionally, if the UW retiree was receiving payments from the University of Washington Supplemental Retirement Plan (UWSRP), and had elected a survivor, that survivor will be provided information to continue these benefit payments in the survivor’s name.

State retirement plans (PERS, TRS, DCP, & LEOFF)

Death of a UW employee family member

Please review your beneficiary information and if necessary update your beneficiary by:

  1. Updating your beneficiary online with the DRS or completing the Retirement – DRS Beneficiary Designation (PDF) form.
  2. If submitting the completed form, return to the address listed on the form.

Death of a UW employee

Once identified, the spouse or beneficiary of the UW employee’s retirement account can work directly with the Department of Retirement Systems at 800-547-6657 to review options for the deceased’s account.

Death of a UW retiree

Once identified, the spouse or beneficiary of the UW retiree’s retirement account can work directly with the Department of Retirement Systems at 800-547-6657 to review options for the deceased’s account.

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Life insurance

Death of a UW employee family member

Please review your optional insurance coverage and your listed beneficiaries on the MetLife website. If you have any life insurance questions, please contact MetLife at 1-866-548-7139 for assistance, and if necessary to file a life insurance claim.

Death of a UW employee

Once identified, the spouse or beneficiary of the UW employee’s life insurance can work directly with MetLife at 1-866-548-7139 for questions, and if necessary to file a life insurance claim.

Death of a UW retiree

Retiree life insurance is an optional choice for UW retirees, and is provided through the State of Washington Heath Care Authority. To see if the retiree had retiree coverage you can work directly with MetLife at 1-866-548-7139 for questions, and if necessary to file a life insurance claim.

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Pre-tax spending accounts

Flexible Savings Account (FSA) or Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP)

Death of a family member

A death of a dependent is considered a qualifying life event. If this occurs, you have 60 days to make a change or enroll. View the FSA and DCAP user guide and make changes through Workday. If you’re unsure whether or not an event qualifies, contact Navia Benefit Solutions.

Death of a UW employee

If the UW employee elected to participate in either of these pre-tax spending accounts you can contact Navia Benefit Solutions to review options for the deceased’s account. The UW Benefits Office can assist you if you are unsure if this benefit was elected by the employee

Death of a UW retiree

This doesn’t apply to UW Retirees who retired prior to the current calendar year.

Health savings account

Death of a UW employee family member

Please review your beneficiary information and if necessary update your beneficiary information online by logging into your HealthEquity account. If your medical coverage will change to single only coverage you may need to adjust your elective contributions to ensure you do not over contribute for the year. Contact your tax advisor or Health Equity for further assistance if you have any questions.

Death of a UW employee

If the UW employee elected to participate in this benefit, the spouse or named beneficiary can contact Health Equity to review options for the deceased’s account. The UW Benefits Office can assist you if you are unsure if this benefit was elected by the employee

Death of a UW retiree

If prior to retirement the UW retiree elected to participate in this benefit, the spouse or named beneficiary can contact Health Equity to review options for the deceased’s account. The UW Benefits Office can assist you if you are unsure if this benefit was elected by the employee. Note this benefit was not available to UW employees prior to January 1, 2012.

VEBA

This benefit is available only for UW Campus Police Officers and eligible UW Retirees. For questions about this account contact Customer Care: 888-828-4953 or customercare@veba.org. The Benefits Office will provide further information on VEBA availability.

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Call UW CareLink
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
866-598-3978
TDD 800-697-0353

UW CareLink website
To sign in, under the register tab, Enter UW for the organization code

UW’s employee assistance plan, UW CareLink, is available to UW employees, their dependents and their household members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the event of an employee’s death, their dependents and household members can continue to access UW CareLink for up to 90 days. Through this program, you have access to:

Counseling
5 free visits – remote sessions available.

Legal advice
Unlimited free consultations, 25% off long term legal services.

Financial guidance
Schedule a phone appointment with our in-house financial experts.

Work-Life solutions
Get referrals to community resources.

Manager’s resources
A range of services for you and your team, especially when things get tough.

See our UW CareLink webpage for more details about this benefit, or contact our office by email totalben@uw.edu or calling 206-543-4444.

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