Page 19 - Work Force May 2020
P. 19

EBF extends dependent eligibility to age 26
 Care for your mental hMealth during pandemic
ental health is a fundamental interactions with friends and essential component and family (phone, text
of overall health. An individual’s mental health can impact how they cope with everyday stressors, as well as situations which may result in emotional trauma.
The current pandemic situation and the actions put in place to try and reduce the curve (closings
of many businesses and schools, social distancing as well as insistence on staying home) have resulted in overwhelming feelings of anxiousness/anxiety, worry and separation.
The 24/7 news cycles which release update upon update, can add to the mounting sense of anxiety felt among children as
well as adults. These are common feelings, even for those not directly impacted. To help manage and reduce stress, it is important to take time to care for yourself. The following strategies may be helpful:
• Take the recommended and necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe.
• Try and limit screen time
on electronic devices. Also, try and limit news intake to new information and stick to reliable news sources (there is no benefit to watching the same news over and over).
• Try and maintain a schedule as close to your overall daily routine (even if some changes are necessary).
• Don’t completely isolate yourself. Even if quarantined, it is beneficial to keep social
messaging, social media,
• Try and stay physically
Should you or your family member need additional mental health assistance during this difficult time, the following resources may be helpful:
• The New York COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314
• Your health insurer’s Mental Health Program (contact number typically on back of insurance card).
• For NYS Empire Plan 1-877-769-7447 (Beacon Health #3)
• Mental health providers that participate with your health insurer’s network. Many are providing telehealth services through phone or video.
• Telemedicine program offered through your health plan or employer; services received through phone or video.
• Employee Assistance Program through your employer
• EAP for New York State employees: 1-800-822-0244
• SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
It is with great excitement that the CSEA Employee Benefit Fund (EBF) announces we will be extending dental and vision coverage for all eligible dependents to age 26.
“We are constantly reviewing our plan offerings and trying to come up with ways of improving your benefits.” CSEA President and EBF Chair Mary E. Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s recommendation was approved at the April 2020 board meeting and will be effective July 1, 2020.
“In making these benefits available, we are never satisfied with the status quo,” Sullivan said.
Eligible dependents include
a member’s biological children, stepchildren and any other dependent who may be in a member’s custody or guardianship, including grandchildren.
EBF benefits
will now cover
children up to their
26th birthday and
will continue until
the last day of
their birth month.
For example, if a
dependent turns age
26 on May 15, they are eligible under the new EBF policy until May 30 of that year.
The EBF will no longer require dependent children over age 19 to be full-time college students to receive benefits. “Our goal has been to enhance the benefits and reduce the burden on members,” EBF Director Bill Howard said. “As a result of
this new policy, the cumbersome student proof forms will no longer
be necessary.”
Any dependent who was eligible as of July 1, 2020, will automatically remain covered until they turn 26.
EBF will require an updated enrollment form for dependents who may have been removed due
to our prior guidelines, or one who had never been added previously because they did not meet our prior
We are recommending members
access their EBF file through our Member Portal at The portal is easy to use and allows members to quickly review who is eligible and add those who are now eligible for this upgrade.
Local government employees (counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, etc.) may be required to discuss changes to their benefits with their human resources department or benefit administrator(s) before enrolling new dependents.
We have also modified the policy so stepchildren are now eligible
to receive benefits regardless of whether they are living with our member or not.
Coverage will be extended to dependent children under age 26
regardless of marital status. Married dependents under age 26 may now
be eligible for EBF benefits effective July 1, 2020.
When informed of this news, CSEA
Dutchess County Educational Local President Scott Rajczi said he was elated. “When I first heard about these changes, it blew me away,” Rajczi said. “The benefits we have through EBF are already great, this makes them even better.”
Rajczi, an electrician at the Hyde Park School District and longtime CSEA activist, understands the value of a strong contract with great benefits.
“I think the best way to describe what this enhancement represents is a growing partnership between the union and its members,” Rajczi said.
President Sullivan agrees.
“Enhancing your dental and vision benefits is just another way for our union to show support for all that you do,” Sullivan said.
  May 2020
The Work Force 19

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