Internal review and appeals procedure for UWRP, VIP and UWSRP

UW Benefits coordinates and administers the wide array of benefits enjoyed by University of Washington employees, including the UW Retirement Plans – UWRP, VIP and UWSRP. Washington law and UW rules provide procedures for individuals to appeal administrative decisions affecting an individual’s interests. The information below explains how those procedures apply to resolving issues arising in the administration of the UW retirement plans.

Internal review procedures

Step 1: Consult with UW Benefits. The first step to resolving your retirement plan questions is to work with the specialists and consultants in UW Benefits. They can explain your benefits, provide information about policies or procedures for obtaining benefits and can refer you to appropriate internal or external resources.

Benefits staff also make decisions about individuals’ requests for benefits such as disability retirement rights, accumulation of service credit, compliance with IRS contribution limits, leaves of absence, and other benefits available to plan participants.

If, after working with Benefits Office staff, they reach a decision regarding your benefits that you don’t agree with, you may request an “Internal Review.”

Step 2: Request an Internal Review. Requesting an Internal Review is the next step for reconsidering decisions pertaining to your eligibility for a benefit under one of the UW retirement plans. During the Internal Review process, the review manager will reconsider your question by reviewing again the underlying records and data for completeness and accuracy, UW rules and policies, and the relevant terms of the plan documents. You may request an Internal Review by emailing within 60 calendar days after the UW Benefits determination you would like reviewed.

Your request for Internal Review should include:

  • Your name, EID, and contact information.
  • A description of the determination you received from UW Benefits that you disagree with.
  • The result you are asking for and why you believe you are entitled to the result.

Your request for Internal Review will be assigned to a reviewing manager who may contact you with questions about the issues or request additional information. You will receive a written determination containing an explanation of the facts, documents, policies, and the specific terms of the plan documents supporting the determination, under most circumstances, within 30 calendar days. If additional time is needed, you will be advised in writing of the new date by which you can expect a determination.

An Internal Review Determination will include the following:

  • The specific reasons for the decision.
  • Specific references to any rules, regulations, or plan document provisions on which the determination is based.
  • If applicable, a description of any data, documents, or information considered.
  • A notice with instructions and deadlines for appealing the Internal Review determination.

Appeal procedure

Appealing an Internal Review Determination. If you still disagree with the determination after the Internal Review, you may request a formal hearing, also referred to as an “Appeal.” An Appeal is a formal proceeding conducted by a hearing officer in accordance with WAC 478-108. In this proceeding, you will need to present sufficient information to persuade the hearing officer the UW Benefits determination is wrong and that you are entitled to your requested remedy.

Your Appeal must be submitted within 60 calendar days after the date of the Internal Review Determination by email to, or you may hand deliver or send by U.S. Mail to:

UW Benefits
Attn: Retirement Plan Appeals
Campus Box #354969
4300 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98195-4960

Your Appeal must be in writing, signed, and include the following information:

  • Your name, EID, and your postal address, email address and telephone number.
  • A copy of the Internal Review Determination you are appealing.
  • A copy of any additional information you wish to provide.
  • A succinct statement of the result you are requesting and an explanation as to why you believe you are entitled to that result.

Ordinarily, the hearing officer will schedule the hearing to begin within 90 calendar days after your Appeal is received. The hearing officer may hold a prehearing conference to identify the issues and to discuss procedure, the relevant information and how it will be presented, the mode and duration of the hearing, and any other unique issues that may be presented.

The hearing officer will issue a written Initial Order within 45 calendar days after the conclusion of the hearing explaining the hearing officer’s decision and the facts, documents and rules or policies and specific terms of the applicable plan documents relied upon. If the hearing officer needs additional time, you will be advised in writing of the new date by which you can expect the decision.

Upon issuing the decision, the hearing officer will transmit the entire hearing record, along with their recommended decision, to the Plan Administrator. The Plan Administrator will then issue the UW’s Final Order.

FAQ: Internal review and appeals procedure for UWRP, VIP and UWSRP.

Q: Where does my right to a hearing come from?
A: The University’s formal hearing process is authorized and governed by state law, including Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 34.05 (“Administrative Procedure Act”) and Washington Administrative Code (WAC) Chapter 478-108. The hearing is the exclusive means to formally challenge a University decision that affects an individual’s rights under the UWRP, VIP, and UWSRP.

Q: Does the University’s hearing officer decide my questions about a Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) plan?
A: Decisions by DRS concerning one of its plans may be challenged only pursuant to the rules and procedures provided by DRS.

Q: When can I use this procedure?
A: This procedure is for UW Benefits Office decisions that you believe adversely affect your UWRP, VIP or UWSRP benefits.

Q: How do I request an accommodation for a disability or health condition in order to participate in the internal review and appeal processes?
A: The internal review and appeal processes are intended to be inclusive and accessible. For accommodation requests connected to a disability or health condition, please reach out to UW Benefits by calling (206) 543-4444 or by email at