blog posts Deadline Approaching: Benefit Choice Ends May 31! May 20, 2022 1:00 pm9 views The last day to make Benefit Choice changes will be here soon! Remember, you only have until May 31 to make your State benefit elections or changes for the upcoming plan year on https://MyBenefits.illinois.gov, including health, dental, life insurance, flexible spending account (MCAP/DCAP) enrollment, and health savings account (HSA) enrollment. Elections will be effective July 1, 2022. Be Alert for Unemployment Fraud and Phishing May 20, 2022 9:00 am4 views The Illinois Department of Employment Security website continues to note that they are aware of phishing schemes targeting Illinoisans. Benefit Choice: Submit Your Documentation May 13, 2022 9:00 am70 views If you made a Benefit Choice change that requires supporting documentation, please remember to provide your documents by the deadline! COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave May 13, 2022 8:30 am63 views Effective April 5, 2022, the University of Illinois System offers COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave time to eligible employees in accordance with Illinois Public Act 102-0697. The expanded leave benefits of COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave provided under Public Act 102-0697 replaces the University’s previously provided temporary coronavirus-related paid leave. Benefit Choice: Make Your Choices by May 31 May 13, 2022 8:00 am98 views We’re halfway through Benefit Choice at https://MyBenefits.illinois.gov! Remember, you have until May 31 to make your State benefit elections or changes for the upcoming plan year. Elections will be effective July 1, 2022. For help registering and logging in to MyBenefits, see the MyBenefits FAQs. Schedule of Approved Holidays for FY23 May 9, 2022 3:30 pm562 views The schedule of approved holidays for fiscal year 2023 is below. SURS Money Purchase Factors Change July 2, 2022 May 4, 2022 2:30 pm80 views Reminder: If you are considering retirement in the next 2 years, remember that the factors table used to calculate SURS retirement benefits under the Money Purchase calculation will change effective July 2, 2022. This change is a result of a study required by state statute. View the resources listed below to determine if you are impacted by this change, and for important considerations if you are thinking about retirement. May 2022 Wellness Connection May 4, 2022 1:00 pm0 views The May 2022 Wellness Connection Newsletter is now available! In this issue: UI Stride Spring Campaign - Know Your System; Ground Turkey Taco Skillet; Yes, Meditation Can Help With That!; Food Safety During Summer Months, Interview with Dena Lawrence, Ed. M. MyBenefits Plus Voluntary Benefit Programs May 4, 2022 8:00 am85 views Did you know that as a full-time State benefits-eligible employee you have access to MyBenefits Plus, a voluntary benefit program? MyBenefits Plus, administered by Corestream, offers a variety of services available to you through payroll deduction. Be Well Illinois: Feel Like a Million Wellness Challenge Apr 26, 2022 4:30 pm81 views Be Well Illinois invites you to join the Feel Like a Million wellness challenge from May 2 - June 12, 2022. FY 2023 Benefit Choice Announcement Apr 25, 2022 8:00 am429 views The State Department of Central Management Services (CMS) has announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Benefit Choice enrollment period will begin May 1 and end May 31, 2022. Springfield Clinic Letter Apr 21, 2022 1:00 pm15 views You may have received a letter from Springfield Clinic regarding health care claims. The letter only applies to Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Open Access Plan (OAP) members. Please disregard if you participate in a BCBS HMO (HMO Illinois or BlueAdvantage HMO) plan. Benefit Choice: Save on Taxes with a Flexible Spending Account! Apr 19, 2022 8:00 am80 views Have you considered participating in the State of Illinois Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Plan? If you spend $265 or more per year on recurring eligible medical or dependent care expenses, then you may save money by paying for them with an FSA. You can reduce your taxable income when you contribute to this plan. Urbana: Faculty and Staff Emergency Fund Drive Spring 2022 Apr 14, 2022 8:00 am27 views The Emergency Fund needs your help! State of Illinois Budget Update Apr 13, 2022 8:00 am3 views Dear faculty, staff, students and friends: The new state budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly and expected to be signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker will provide $655.2 million in general operating funds to the University of Illinois System for the coming fiscal year, as well as a $122 million increase for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the state’s primary student financial aid program. The state budget for the 2023 fiscal year, which begins July 1, will increase the U of I System appropriation by 5 percent over the current year. The budget passed also applies an additional $28.1 million supplemental appropriation to the current fiscal year’s $622 million in state operating funds, essentially providing the fiscal year 2023 increase a year early. This marks the third consecutive year that legislators and the governor have maintained or increased U of I System funding. These increases signal continued recognition of the value the U of I System provides not only to our more than 94,000 students, but also to the state as a whole, and we are grateful to our legislators and governor for their investment in higher education. Highlights of the budget include: A $122 million increase for the state’s Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides financial aid to Illinois students, including more than 22,000 across our U of I System universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. $1.36 billion in total capital re-appropriations across the system, of which $496.7 million will support continued planning and construction of the U of I System's Discovery Partners Institute and the statewide Illinois Innovation Network. Additionally, $862.5 million of re-appropriated capital funds will support a number of ongoing construction projects across our three universities. $3 million in new funding for the Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield, part of a national program that works to exonerate wrongfully convicted people and reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. $2 million in new funding for the creation of a Climate Jobs Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, to provide data, research and information that will help the state and its workforce transition to a clean-energy economy. In addition to the budget, the legislature also approved regulatory measures that streamline and improve procurement, allowing the university system to more effectively engage minority vendors and conduct business in the state. The measures also establish a taskforce to report on further procurement reforms needed to legislate in the fall veto session. We thank our U of I Caucus for its hard work and dedication during this budget process, and we appreciate the support of all of you in making the U of I System a powerful engine of progress for the state. We are grateful to Gov. Pritzker and the legislature for their ongoing partnership, reflected in this budget which makes vital investments in higher education. We look forward to further collaboration as we work to ensure our universities have the financial backing to continue to deliver for the people of Illinois. Sincerely, Tim Killeen, President, University of Illinois System Robert Jones, Chancellor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Michael Amiridis, Chancellor, University of Illinois Chicago Karen Whitney, Interim Chancellor, University of Illinois Springfield Retirement and Investment Webinars Available! Apr 12, 2022 8:00 am63 views Are you interested in learning more about retirement planning and investment options available to you as a University of Illinois System employee? Retirement and investment education webinars are available through State Universities Retirement System (SURS) and University 403(b) Plan vendors TIAA and Fidelity. View details for each vendor below. MyBenefits: Review/Add Your Email Address Apr 6, 2022 8:00 am159 views Receive State-benefits notices from MyBenefits faster by providing your email address! Health Plan Reminder: Out-of-Network Providers Apr 5, 2022 8:00 am37 views You are encouraged to use in-network providers to receive the best value from your health plan. No matter which plan you are enrolled in, receiving health care from an out-of-network provider will significantly increase your out-of-pocket medical costs. Designate or Review Your Beneficiaries: State Life Insurance Mar 31, 2022 4:00 pm143 views Ensure your life insurance benefits are distributed according to your wishes by designating or reviewing your beneficiary designations for your State of Illinois Life Insurance coverage Policy and Leave Updates: FMLA, VESSA, and UFML Mar 31, 2022 3:00 pm104 views As a result of several recent legislative changes, the University of Illinois System has made some updates to the following leave benefits: Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), University Family Medical Leave (UFML) to care for a same-sex domestic partner or civil union partner, and Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Leave (VESSA). Support for our students, faculty and staff Mar 15, 2022 8:45 am0 views Dear students, faculty and staff: On behalf of the University of Illinois System, we are deeply outraged by the unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine and the worsening humanitarian crisis facing the people there. We stand with the Association of Public & Land Grant Universities in sharply condemning the unnecessary use of force and calling for an end to this devastating conflict. During this very difficult time, the safety and well-being of our students and other members of our U of I community who are impacted by this tragedy are our No. 1 priority. Our three universities have been reaching out directly to offer support resources to students, staff and faculty who may be in need. As a university system, which welcomes students from all over the world and has a long history of global reach and partnership, we hold dear our values of inclusivity and treating each other with dignity and respect, and we advocate for peaceful diplomacy as the means to conflict resolution. We will continue to support each other and promote civility for every member of the U of I System community, at our universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield, across the country and around the world. We understand the situation may be very stressful and cause anxiety for some. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the student or employee services office at your university. There are many available support resources, which are shown in the links below. Our deepest sympathy goes to all those who are suffering, and we stand firm in disavowing the violence and the destruction being forced upon the people of Ukraine. Sincerely, Tim KilleenPresident Avijit GhoshInterim Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert J. JonesChancellor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Michael D. AmiridisChancellor, University of Illinois Chicago Karen M. WhitneyInterim Chancellor, University of Illinois Springfield Support Resources: StudentsUIUC Student Assistance Center or (217) 333-0050; email@example.com UIC Student Assistance Center UIS Counseling Center Support Resources: Faculty and StaffEmployee Assistance Programs Are You Retiring or Separating from the University of Illinois System? Mar 8, 2022 8:00 am245 views You may be eligible to defer unused vacation leave into the University 403(b), State 457, or SURS 457 retirement plans. Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Limited Waiver Feb 21, 2022 1:30 pm343 views As a University of Illinois System employee, you may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. PSLF is a federal program that forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. America Saves Week Feb 18, 2022 10:00 am45 views Next week marks America Saves Week, an opportunity to focus on your savings strategy. University of Illinois System approved 403(b) retirement plan investment companies, TIAA and Fidelity Investments, offer tips and resources to help you get into a saving mindset. Know Your Approved Retirement Plan Representatives Feb 9, 2022 8:30 am167 views Be wary of callers attempting to discuss financial investments. Only a few representatives from investment companies are approved to discuss retirement planning. Keep Your Emergency Contacts Updated Feb 8, 2022 7:00 am93 views Do you have emergency contacts on file with the University of Illinois System? Are they current? It is important to keep up-to-date emergency contact information on file, so U of I System representatives know who to call on your behalf in the unfortunate event of an emergency or accident. February 2022 Wellness Connection Feb 3, 2022 8:30 am0 views The February 2022 Wellness Connection Newsletter is now available! In this issue: Trends of Excitement!, Freezer Breakfast Burritos, Having a Healthy Relationship with Food, The Benefits of Organizing your Home, and Interview with Angela Dietz. Announcing the 2022 Professional Staff Leadership Academy Cohort Jan 28, 2022 11:30 am114 views We are delighted to announce the selected participants for the 2022 Professional Staff Leadership Academy (PSLA). PSLA is designed to foster a culture of dynamic and transformational leadership for academic professional and civil service staff at all levels throughout the University of Illinois System. 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Plan - 2022 Universal Availability Notice Jan 26, 2022 10:00 am270 views 403(b) Supplemental Retirement Plan - 2022 Universal Availability Notice Report Your Address If Working Outside of Illinois Jan 21, 2022 12:00 pm83 views The Working Outside of Illinois Policy is a new University of Illinois System policy that provides guidelines to employees if they have been approved to work outside of Illinois. 2022 System Office DELTA Program - Nominations are now being accepted! Jan 18, 2022 10:00 am63 views Nominations are now being accepted for the 2022 Distinguished Employee Leadership and Team Award (DELTA). COVID-19 Booster Shots Now Required Jan 6, 2022 2:00 pm0 views Dear students, faculty and staff: A few weeks ago, we encouraged all faculty, staff and students to get a COVID-19 booster shot. Due to recent increases in COVID-19 cases, evolving information about the more transmissive Omicron variant, and new CDC guidance, the University of Illinois System is now requiring that all faculty, staff and students get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligible (see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for details on eligibility). There is now significant evidence that vaccinations plus boosters are effective at preventing infections from developing into serious illness. Those who have already received exemptions from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons will be exempted from the booster requirement. For employees covered by a union contract, guidance will be implemented at the universities through the applicable collective bargaining processes. Please look for further, more detailed, communication from your university on boosters and other safety measures applicable to each campus. Throughout the pandemic we have worked diligently to keep our universities and their surrounding communities safe. Now, in the face of this new variant, we must again act collectively to protect both the health and safety of our communities and the quality of the educational experience that makes the U of I System truly extraordinary. We will continue to monitor our policies, adjusting where appropriate based on advances in scientific understanding and updated guidance from public health authorities. Thank you again for your vigilance and your commitment to each other. I hope you had a joyous holiday season and a restful break. Sincerely, Tim Update Your Mailing Address and Consent for Online Tax Forms Dec 8, 2021 7:30 am4918 views This is a general reminder to all faculty and staff: please review and, if necessary, update your Mailing Address on file with the University of Illinois System for benefits and/or tax purposes. SURS Deferred Compensation Plan: Enrollment Now Available Dec 7, 2021 11:00 am723 views SURS-eligible employees are now able to enroll in the SURS 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP). The SURS 457 DCP is a new voluntary retirement savings opportunity that is available through payroll deduction. The SURS 457 DCP is supplemental to your SURS Traditional, Portable, or Retirement Savings Plan. COVID-19 Booster Shot Recommendation Dec 6, 2021 11:30 am0 views Dear students, faculty and staff: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and the communities around us has been our priority. Your sacrifice and commitment have been instrumental in us maintaining our status as a national model for navigating the pandemic. As a result of your efforts, we are close to completing a safe, successful semester and beginning to plan for the spring. To prepare, we now ask that everyone who is eligible follow current federal, state and local health recommendations and get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as it is recommended after your primary series (see the CDC site for details on eligibility). As with the initial vaccine rollout, each university will be issuing additional detailed guidance, so please be on the lookout for that. We committed from the beginning of the pandemic to follow the science and our own modeling of the pandemic and local situations, as well as other health guidance in making decisions and recommendations for our universities. Now, with data indicating that vaccine efficacy wanes and with the emergence of new variants of the virus, getting a booster shot is an important way to protect yourselves, our campuses and our communities. As always, we will continue to monitor advances in scientific understanding and updated guidance from public health authorities, adjusting as appropriate. Thank you again for your vigilance and your commitment to each other. I wish you a successful finish to the semester, a joyous holiday season and a restful break. We look forward to seeing you in the spring. Sincerely, Tim KilleenPresident, University of Illinois System Annual Update to Long Term Disability (LTD) Premiums Dec 3, 2021 1:00 pm184 views Participants in the University LTD Plan may notice a change to your payroll deduction amount. The deduction is calculated annually, and is effective for the period of December 1, 2021 - November 30, 2022. Mental Health and Self Care – New Resource Page Dec 2, 2021 1:30 pm199 views We would like to share a new Mental Health and Self Care resource page with you. Our hope is that you find these resources helpful if you or someone you know are struggling. December 2021 Wellness Connection Dec 1, 2021 1:00 pm0 views The December 2021 Wellness Connection Newsletter is now available! In this issue: International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Tex-Mex Lasagna, Make Giving a Year-round Part of Your Life, and Winterizing Your Home. Additional Gift Day 2021 Nov 22, 2021 1:00 pm2 views We are pleased to announce that, this year, an additional paid day off will be added to the December/January year-end calendar. The additional paid time off is part of our ongoing efforts to show how much we appreciate your hard work, resiliency, sacrifice and commitment – qualities that have shone brightly throughout the COVID-19 crisis. In the face of extraordinary challenges both on the job and at home, you have come together to not only pull the University of Illinois System through the historic storm but to make it a model for the nation. Employees who are eligible for leave benefits will receive an additional paid gift day on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. This addition will amend this year’s Reduced Service Days to be December 29, 30 and 31, 2021 and January 4, 2022. Combined with holidays, other paid time off and weekends, this will extend the year-end break from Friday, December 24, 2021 through Tuesday, January 4, 2022. For employees in union-represented bargaining units, paid time off for the holidays is addressed through the required collective bargaining process. Thank you for helping sustain our more than 150-year legacy of excellence. We hope you are able to have some much-deserved time with family and friends over the next two months. Sincerely, Tim Killeen, President, U of I System Avijit Ghosh, Interim Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs, U of I System Robert J. Jones, Chancellor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Michael Amiridis, Chancellor, University of Illinois Chicago Karen Whitney, Interim Chancellor, University of Illinois Springfield Coming Soon: SURS Deferred Compensation Plan Nov 22, 2021 8:00 am375 views Coming in January 2022, SURS will be offering a new, voluntary retirement savings opportunity that will be available to SURS-eligible employees through payroll deduction. The SURS 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP) is supplemental to your SURS Traditional, Portable, or Retirement Savings Plan. 403(b) and 457 Plan Contribution Limits Nov 18, 2021 7:45 am608 views The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the supplemental retirement plan contribution limits will increase for 202. As a 403(b) or 457 plan participant, the following information and reminders may be helpful to you. Required Mandated Reporting Training – Coming November 15, 2021 Nov 9, 2021 8:00 am1161 views All University of Illinois System employees, including those holding 0% (unpaid) appointments, are mandated reporters under the Illinois Abused and Child Reporting Act (ANCRA). The ANCRA legislation requires you to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). ANCRA was amended in 2019 to require training for mandated reporters every three years. Prior to the amendment, training was required only once, upon hire. November 2021 Wellness Connection Nov 3, 2021 1:00 pm0 views The November 2021 Wellness Connection Newsletter is now available! In this issue: World Kindness Day, White Chicken Chili, It is Never Too Late!, Family History is Worth Knowing, and an Interview with Amy Glenn, Assistant Director for Business Process Improvement for AITS. Update Your Profile on My UI Info Oct 28, 2021 7:30 am472 views Have you earned a degree or advanced degree recently? Earned or renewed a certification? Or moved to a new address? Please review your profile on My UI Info and update with any changes to ensure your information is current. Review your TIAA Beneficiary Designation Oct 19, 2021 1:00 pm195 views Control where your University of Illinois TIAA 403(b) inheritance goes! Life changes, and so do your wants and needs. If something happens to you, make sure your beneficiary information reflects your current wishes. Be Well Illinois Wellness Challenge Oct 19, 2021 12:00 pm113 views Be Well Illinois invites State employees, retirees, and covered dependents to participate in a 6-week Coast-to-Coast wellness challenge. Participants will record physical activity and have the opportunity to explore meditation and mindful eating activities. MetLife Advantages Program Oct 14, 2021 3:00 pm192 views Did you know that in addition to basic term life coverage, SEGIP benefits-eligible employees have access to additional services through the State Life Insurance vendor, MetLife? Review your Fidelity Beneficiary Designation Oct 12, 2021 12:00 pm175 views Control where your University of Illinois Fidelity 403(b) inheritance goes! Life changes, and so do your wants and needs. If something happens to you, make sure your beneficiary information reflects your current wishes. October 2021 Wellness Connection Oct 6, 2021 1:00 pm0 views The October 2021 Wellness Connection Newsletter is now available! In this issue: Healthy Lung Month, Stuffed Pepper Casserole, Know When to Get Help for Stress, Improving Emotional Intelligence, and Wellness Lessons Learned During the Pandemic Survey Report. Are You Retiring or Separating from the University of Illinois System? Oct 5, 2021 7:30 am424 views You may be eligible to defer unused vacation and/or compensable sick leave into the University 403(b) or State 457 retirement plans.