Individuals resigning or retiring from Washington State University will submit their notice on Workday. See the Knowledge Article – Submit Resignation for assistance.

The following topics provide information on how separation impacts employee benefits and retirement program(s). HRS Benefits staff is available to answer your questions- contact us here.


One-page reference document for individuals who are separated due to layoff or reduction in force: Important Benefits Information for Separation Due to Layoff/Reduction in Force



Medical and Dental Coverage – including COBRA information

Medical and dental coverage ends on the last day of the month in which an employee is paid for at least 8 hours or more in their regular eligible position*. Medical and/or dental coverage may be continued for at least 18 months on a self-pay basis under COBRA (up to 29 months under provisions due to a Layoff/Involuntary Separation/Termination). The Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) in Olympia will mail a Continuation of Coverage packet to the employee’s home address. If loss of benefits is due to a layoff, HRS Pullman will also mail information regarding benefit options. Continuation of coverage must be pursued within 60 days of coverage ending.

In the event the separating employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner (RDP) works for WSU, the spouse/partner has the option to add the separated individual and any eligible dependents they may have been carrying onto their insurance as a dependent for a lower premium rate than the self-pay COBRA rates. This may also be the case if the separating employee is under age 26 and has a parent who works at WSU.* These individuals have 60 days from the end of the separated employee’s coverage to pursue this option. Coverage will not go into effect until the first of the month following the date the enrollment form is received. Therefore, in order to prevent a gap in coverage, the spouse/RDP or parent should request to make these changes their coverage the same month in which the separation occurs. 
*The above may also be applicable if the spouse/RDP or parent works for any State of Washington employer.

*8 hours of pay may not generate enough compensation to cover monthly premiums. Outstanding premiums are still the responsibility of the separating employee and may be collected from annual leave payout, other WSU pay, or invoiced to the employee.

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Retirement Plans – including Voluntary Investment Plans

Employees have several options regarding their retirement account(s) upon separation from employment, which could include leaving funds in the account, rolling-over funds into another investment vehicle, or withdrawing some or all of the retirement funds. It is strongly recommended to contact the retirement plan directly and speak with a tax advisor to understand the implications of your choice, such as taxes, possible penalties, etc. The following is contact information for the various retirement vendors:

In the event the separating employee is eligible to retire, they are advised to contact HRS Benefits and the retirement plan to review options.

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Life Insurance

The life insurance policies offered through WSU are term policies, with the “term” being the period of benefit-eligible employment. Normally, life insurance coverage ceases at the end of the month in which an employee separates. Individuals will have the option to convert or port their insurance coverage into a private policy with the carrier, which they can pursue during the first 60 days following the end of employment. In the event a person were to pass away during the 60-day window, there is a possibility the policy would still be payable. See the 2020 MetLife Certificate of Coverage for Washington Residents or 2020 MetLife Certificate of Coverage for non-Washington Residents for more information. 

In the event a spouse or qualified domestic partner works for WSU, and one employee’s coverage terminates, life insurance coverage may be transferred, without evidence of insurability, to the remaining insured employee’s life insurance.

In the event of layoff, employees may continue their life insurance on a self-pay basis for up to 29 months using the 2020 Continuation Coverage Election/Change (for LWOP) Form (2021 Continuation Coverage Election/Change Unpaid Leave Form). Separating employees also have the option to convert the group life insurance policies to individual term and/or whole life policies with MetLife.

Please contact MetLife at 1 (866) 548-7139 or visit the MetLife website for additional information. For the employer name, enter “Washington State PEBB”.

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Long Term Disability Insurance

Both the Optional and Basic Long Term Disability (LTD) coverage cease after employment ends; the Termination of LTD Coverage webpage provides detailed information on when long term disability insurance coverage ends.

If an employee is on an active LTD claim, or has pursued a claim prior to separation, the claim may still be processed or in place, even though active employment is no longer in effect.

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Health Savings Account (HSA)

An HSA is an account which is owned by the employee and remains as their account, even after the employee has separated. All funds in the account (both employee-contributed and employer-contributed) will stay in the account for the employee’s future use. The employer-contributed funds deposited into the HSA each month will stop the last month in which the employee is eligible for employer sponsored medical coverage. The employee is able to claim the funds in the account after employment, but must be enrolled in a high-deductible medical plan to continue contributing to the HSA. Details on the HSA when employment ends can be directed to the plan administrator, HealthEquity, at 1-877-873-8823 or through the HealthEquity website.

The HSA Guide from HealthEquity provides detailed information about HSAs.

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Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

An FSA is an employee benefit, so coverage in the FSA typically ends when employment ends. This means employees can claim expenses, up to the amount of funds that are available, incurred during employment. Generally, expenses incurred after an employee separates cannot be claimed unless they requested to accelerate their remaining contributions prior to separating from employment or continue coverage under COBRA. See WAC 182-12-133 (options for continuation coverage).

If eligible to continue coverage under WAC 182-12-133 (options for continuation coverage) or COBRA, employees may extend their period of coverage and claim expenses incurred after employment ends. To do this, contact Navia Benefit Solutions within 60 days from the end of employment. Contributions posted after separating from WSU will be made on a post-tax basis. For additional information contact Navia Benefit Solutions at 1 (800) 669-3539 or customerservice@naviabenefits.com.

The Navia Benefits Solutions FSA Guide provides detailed information about Flexible Spending Accounts when employment ends (see pages 11-12).

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Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP)

Separated employees may continue to submit claims for eligible expenses (up to the account balance) for the remainder of the calendar year until available funds are exhausted as long as the expenses for care allow them to attend school full-time, look for work, or work full-time. For additional information contact Navia Benefit Solutions at 1(800) 669-3539 or customerservice@naviabenefits.com.

The Navia Benefits Solutions DCAP Guide publication provides information about the Dependent Care Assistance Program.

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Liberty Mutual Auto/Home Insurance 

The group insurance discount rate will end after employment ends. For information about continuing coverage and making adjustments in premium payments, contact Liberty Mutual at 1 (800)-295-3753.

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Leave Payout (for employees who accrue annual or sick leave)

If an appointment is eligible for leave payout, WSU will process the leave payout after leave/time reports are received from the department and audited. Sick leave is not eligible for payout, unless a qualified employee is retiring from WSU.

The following Business Policies and Procedures address leave payoff, and who is eligible:

For additional information contact HRS at (509) 335-4521 or hrs@wsu.edu.

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Address Changes

It is important to keep addresses up to date in MyWSU. This will ensure that WSU is able to mail any important information, such as W2 forms. Contact TIAA and the DRS directly (at the phone numbers listed above) to report the updated address for retirement accounts, and future mailings from them.

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