Vanderbilt benefits news: beneficiaries, unpaid leave, more

There are a variety of things you should know about your Vanderbilt benefits, including how to change beneficiaries and how your spending accounts and retirement savings are affected by a leave of absence.

Review Your Beneficiaries

When you enrolled for your benefits at Vanderbilt, you may have named beneficiaries for your Life Insurance, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance, and Retirement plans.

It’s a good idea to review your beneficiaries each year – especially if you have gotten married, divorced or had a baby.

  • Log in with your VUnetID and ePassword and then go to the Home link in the top navigation bar and select My Beneficiaries from the dropdown menu.
  • As a reminder, if you are designating someone other than your spouse—including a same-sex spouse—to receive over 50 percent of your retirement benefits, you need to have the consent of your spouse.
  • Naming or changing beneficiaries is easy and you can make updates at any time during the year.
  • For Life Insurance and AD&D, make your changes on the My VU Benefits website Beneficiaries web page where you will find step-by-step instructions.

Benefits during an Unpaid Leave of Absence

If you need to take an unpaid leave of absence, your benefits will be impacted. Here are details:

Health, Dental, Vision, Disability and Life Insurance Coverage

  • You will pay your premiums for your existing coverage through direct billing. Our benefits administration vendor, Benefit Express, manages direct billing and will send you payment coupons. Please note that direct billing cannot begin until your unpaid leave of absence paperwork is completed.
  • For the month that you return to work, you will also pay for benefits through direct billing. Payroll deductions will resume with your first paycheck of the month following your return from leave.

Spending Accounts

If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA):

  • Your payroll contributions to the Medical FSA will continue through direct billing. Benefit Express will send you payment coupons.
  • Your Dependent Care FSA account will remain active but your contributions will stop until you return to an active status. Once you return from unpaid leave, your remaining Dependent Care FSA election amount will be divided by the remaining number of paychecks for the calendar year.

If you have the Health Reimbursement Account (HRA):

  • Your account will remain active but no additional credits will be made during your unpaid leave.

Retirement Plan

  • You cannot continue to contribute to your retirement accounts during an unpaid leave.
  • Your existing retirement funds will remain invested as you directed.

Accrued Time Off


Contact the Employee Service Center at or 343-7000.

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