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Employee Matters

February 8, 2005

This column is prepared by staff of the Employee Compensation and Benefits Services office. You may e-mail us at, or call Employee Services at 263-7556 or 262-5650.

Life Events
What is a “life event?” A life event is a change in your work and/or personal life that may result in a change in the benefits in which you are enrolled, the level of coverage, etc. This article identifies life events and actions you should consider, to ensure that your benefits meet your needs and the needs of your family.

What are some life events?
The following life events will alter your life and often that of your family:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth/adoption/legal guardianship of a child
  • Dependent status change
  • Death of you, your spouse or dependent child
  • Moving into or out of the state
  • Increase or decrease in your employment
  • Increase or decrease in the employment of your spouse
  • Change in position type from classified to unclassified or vice versa
  • Domestic partnership initiation or termination
  • Military leave of absence
  • Layoff from job
  • Return to work from leave or layoff
  • Leave of absence (including family medical leave)
  • Short-term disability
  • Long-term disability
  • Work injury
  • Eligibility for Wisconsin Retirement System participation
  • Termination and retirement
  • Termination before retirement age
  • Termination and application for disability
  • Rehired annuitant

What should you do when a life event occurs?
It is important that you contact a benefit specialist in Employee Compensation & Benefit Services (EC&BS) to discuss the impact of the event on all of your benefits. EC&BS is here to make certain that you make the best decisions on how to change or use your benefits when any of these life events occurs.

Time is of the essence — most changes to your benefits must be made within 30 days of the event and require completion of paperwork.

Benefit specialists in EC&BS work with employees, dependents and survivors when a life event occurs that affects them.

What changes might you want to make?
Examples you might want to consider when you have a life event change:

  • Health insurance coverage change from single to family
  • Health insurance coverage change from family to single
  • Health insurance continuation benefits for dependents (COBRA)
  • Health insurance primary care provider
  • Health insurance enrollment if not enrolled
  • Life insurance adding dependent coverage
  • Life insurance dropping dependent coverage
  • Excess medical and dental enrolling dependents
  • Excess medical and dental dropping dependents
  • Apply for income continuation insurance
  • Apply for workers compensation
  • Apply for Wisconsin Retirement System disability
  • Employee reimbursement account enrollment
  • Employee reimbursement account change, increasing or decreasing contributions
  • Beneficiary designation updating for insurance plans, retirement, tax shelter annuity plans
  • Tax shelter annuity or Wisconsin deferred compensation increase or decrease
  • Domestic partner enrollment in university- sponsored plans
  • Continuation of state group life insurance
  • Sick leave usage for payment of health insurance at layoff
  • Sick leave certification at time of termination if more than 20 years of WRS service
  • Apply for Wisconsin Retirement System retirement, separation or survivor benefits

Contact a Benefit Specialist at the EC&BS office at, or visit the EC&BS Web site at