Navigating Life Events

Life is full of change. During your time at NIU, you may experience life events that affect your pay or benefits. Some changes may also require you to update your employment records. We're here to help guide you through these steps.

Family Changes

Adoption of a Child

The adoption of a child is a qualifying change in status. It allows you to add health, dental, vision and child life insurance. You can also increase your optional life insurance coverage, with statement of health approval.

You must notify the agency in writing within 60 days of the placement of your child, the filing of the adoption petition, or the entry of the adoption order. You'll need to provide a copy of the adoption certificate and your child's Social Security number (when received) to add insurance coverage. See suggested updates.

You may receive financial assistance from Central Management Services through the Adoption Benefit Program.

Read about taking time off work to care for your child:

If you're a faculty member, please review the Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period Policy.


Birth of a Child

The birth of a child is a qualifying change in status. It allows you to add health, dental, vision and child life insurance. You can also increase your optional life insurance coverage, with statement of health approval.

You must notify the agency in writing within 60 days of the birth of your child. You must provide a copy of the birth certificate and your child's Social Security number (when received) to add insurance coverage. Hospital birth certificates are acceptable. See suggested updates.

Read about taking time off work to care for your child:

You may wish to read NIU's Workplace Breastfeeding Policy and Procedure.

If you're a faculty member, please review the Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period Policy.


Death of a Spouse or Dependent

If your spouse or civil union partner dies, it's considered a qualifying change in status. It allows you to add eligible dependents who had insurance coverage under the person who died. This does not include stepchildren or the children of a civil union partner, unless you adopted them or were granted legal guardianship of them. You can also opt back in to group insurance coverage if you previously opted out.

If your spouse, civil union partner or dependent dies, you may increase or decrease your optional life insurance coverage. You must notify the agency in writing within 60 days of the death. The dependents of the person who died may be eligible for survivor benefits.

You'll need to supply some providers with a copy of the death certificate or an obituary. See suggested updates.

Read about taking time off work for a bereavement leave.

Learn how to report the death of a spouse or dependent to SURS.


Divorce

If you experience a divorce, dissolution of a civil union partnership, legal separation or annulment, it's considered a qualifying change in status. In the case of divorce, civil union dissolution or annulment, you must remove the spouse or civil union partner, as well as stepchildren and the civil union partner's children, from all coverage. In the case of legal separation, you may remove the spouse and/or stepchildren from coverage if you wish. You may also increase or decrease your optional life insurance coverage, and opt back in to group insurance coverage if you previously opted out.

You must notify the agency in writing within 60 days of a divorce, legal separation, civil union dissolution or annulment.

You'll need to provide the first and last pages of your divorce decree to remove insurance coverage. See suggested updates.

SURS provides information on divorce and Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Orders.


Marriage

If you get married or enter a civil union partnership, it's considered a qualifying change in status. It allows you to:

  • Add coverage for your spouse or civil union partner, as well as stepchildren or the children of the civil union partner.
  • Increase or decrease your optional life insurance coverage.
  • Add spouse or child life insurance.
  • Opt out of health, life or dental coverage.
  • Opt back in to group insurance coverage if you previously opted out.

You must notify the agency of the marriage or civil union partnership in writing within 60 days. You'll need to provide the marriage or civil union partnership certificate to add insurance coverage. See suggested updates.

Personal Changes

Death of an Employee

If an employee dies, please follow these steps:

  1. Notify us of a contact person. We will contact SURS, Securian Financial and payroll on your behalf. The agencies will then work directly with the contact person.
  2. Provide the payroll office with a certified death certificate, a taxpayer identification number (TIN) for estate, and a circuit court order declaring heirship (a small estate affidavit or a copy of the last will and testament are also acceptable).
  3. Have the beneficiary or TIN complete a W-9 form.
  4. Return any NIU equipment to us or the department.

For more information, refer to the following policies:


Disability

If it appears you'll be disabled for more than 60 days and that your disability will extend beyond the period you're eligible for sick pay, contact us to request a disability application form. Your application must be on file with SURS within one calendar year after the date on which your disability occurred.

SURS will approve or deny your request. All your sick benefits must be used first. We advise you to use vacation time as well. When the leave is approved, be sure to turn in your keys and NIU equipment.

For more information, refer to these policies:

If you're a faculty member, please review the Extension of the Tenure Probationary Period Policy.

Employment Changes

Layoff and Notice of Nonrenewal

NIU is committed to creating a healthy and supportive environment for employees and to administering all policies fairly and equitably. The university strives to minimize layoffs by considering them only after other solutions have been reviewed. We adhere to the following policies and procedures:

Here are some actions you can take if you face losing your job:


Leaving University Employment

If you're leaving your job at NIU, visit How to Retire and follow steps three through seven. You may be able to continue your benefits through COBRA. Contact Securian Financial for information on your life insurance.

Your NIU account will remain active until April 30 so that you can access your W-2 online.


Retirement

Choosing when to retire is a big decision. We can help walk you through the process. Learn how to retire from NIU.

Disclaimer: The information contained in the Life Events section is a summary and may not include all conditions, limitations, or exceptions that may be applicable to a particular situation. Every effort has been made to present current information without inaccuracies; however, errors, additions, deletions, and changes in the laws or procedures may occur and could make the information out of date or inaccurate. Therefore, users of this website are advised of their responsibility to contact the HRS Service Center (815-753-6000) directly for specific information relating to benefits and to confirm the accuracy and completeness of the posted information.

Suggested Updates

When a life change occurs, it's important to update your information and benefits to meet your new needs.

Personal Information

Submit changes to your name or address with the Personal Data - Name Address Form (XLS).

Paycheck and Tax Exemptions

If your marital status or number of dependents changes, adjust your tax exemptions on your paycheck by submitting updated federal and Illinois W-4 forms.

If your bank account changes, update your Direct Deposit (XLS) form.

Retirement Benefits

Update beneficiary information for your State University Retirement System (SURS) pension online or by calling 1-800-275-7877.

You should also update your beneficiary information with your supplemental retirement plan provider. 

Insurance Benefits

Call us at 815-753-6000 to add or remove insurance coverage. You may need to supply a birth or adoption certificate, Social Security number, death certificate or obituary, divorce decree, or other document.

Life Insurance

Update beneficiary information for your life insurance through Central Management Services.

Submit a claim through Human Resource Services to Securian Financial. You'll need to supply a copy of the death certificate or obituary.

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