Death in the Family
Tufts understands that losing a loved one or family member is a difficult time for all who are involved. Tufts Support Services (TSS) staff can guide you or your family member through the claims process, ensure surviving members of your family have insurance coverage, and answer any other questions related to available resources.
In the event of a death in the family, you or a family member should:
- Contact TSS by email or call 617-627-7000 as soon as possible
- Provide TSS with an original death certificate within 31 days of the death —mail to: Tufts Support Services, 62R Talbot Street, Medford, MA 02155
Sympathy Days and Time Off
You may be granted up to three days of paid leave following a death in your immediate family, including:
- A spouse
- Qualified domestic partner
- Children (including stepchildren)
- Mother/father-in-law, parent (including stepparent)
- Brother or sister (including stepbrother and stepsister)
If you need additional time off, Tufts provides several options for taking time for bereavement.
The Employee Assistance Program offers free, confidential counseling for you, your dependents and household members. You can reach the EAP 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 800-451-1834.
Benefit Changes and Claims
It's important to understand how a death in the family affects your benefits and, in the case of your death, what the surviving members of your family need to do to file a life insurance claim.
Health, Dental, and Vision Plans
When an employee dies, their coverage in university health, dental or vision plans will end as of the date of their death. However, their eligible dependents who are covered under their health, dental, and vision plans will be offered COBRA for a period of 36 months. A third-party administrator, EBPA, will contact your family with details.
If you have life insurance through Tufts, your beneficiary will receive a beneficiary life insurance claim form from Human Resources with instructions on where to send it.
Once we receive the completed form and an original copy of the death certificate, we will file a life insurance claim on your beneficiary's behalf with our vendor, Prudential.
TSS provides detailed information on adding, changing or removing a beneficiary for basic life, supplemental life, or accidental death and dismemberment.
Dependent Life Insurance
If you have dependent life insurance, Human Resources will send you a life insurance claim form. Once we receive the completed form and a death certificate, we will file a life insurance claim on your behalf with our vendor, Prudential.
Social Security Death Benefits
A one-time payment of $255 can be paid to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased; or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased's record.
If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased's record in the month of death.
More information can be found on the Social Security website.
Flexible Spending Accounts (Health Care and Dependent Care)
If you enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), your survivors may submit claims for up to 120 days following your death for any expense incurred in the calendar year prior to your death.
Your family can elect to continue your FSA benefits through COBRA for the remainder of the calendar year.
If a family member dies, you can make changes to your FSA election for the current calendar year within 31 days of the death.
To review or change your beneficiary information for your Tufts-funded or self-funded retirement plans, you will need to call the company that administers your plan(s) directly.
- Fidelity Customer Service: 800-343-0860
- TIAA Customer Service: 800-842-2776
Accelerated Death Benefits
If you become terminally ill while insured under the employee term life insurance provision or while your death benefit protection is being extended under the employee term Life coverage provision, you may elect to have the Terminal Ill proceeds placed under this option.
What this Means
If an individual is diagnosed with a terminal illness and has a life expectancy of 24 months or less, they are eligible to cash in up to 80% of their basic and optional life insurance (if applicable) proceeds to a combined maximum of $800,000.
If you elect this option, Prudential will pay the Terminal Illness proceeds you place under this option in one sum once they have received proof of your terminal illness.
If you do not want the Terminal Illness proceeds in one sum, you may elect to have 24 equal monthly installments. The first monthly payment will be due when Prudential receives proof that you are a Terminally Ill Employee. The other payments are due on the same day of each later month.
For more information and terms of conditions, please see pages 19 and 20 in the Life Insurance Plan Document under "Option to Accelerate Payment of Death Benefits".