Which medical and dental plans are available?
The Health Care Authority offers a variety of medical and dental plans. Not all plans area available in every county. In most cases, you must live in the plan’s service area to join the plan.
The plans available in Kittitas County are:
Medical: Group Health
Uniform Medical Plan
Dental: Uniform Dental Plan
How do I select the best plan for my family and me?
Only you can decide which plan makes the most sense for you and your family. If you cover eligible dependents, they must be covered under the same medical and dental plan you choose. As you review the plans, you may want to consider geography, cost, unique medical needs, coinsurance vs. co-pay, deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, referral procedures, your provider, paperwork and coordination with your other benefits.
How do the plans differ?
All medical plans offer the same basic benefits, although benefit enhancements, limitations, monthly premiums, deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket maximums may vary. Keep in mind that Uniform is a preferred provider organization and Group Health is a managed care plan. For more information, call the plans directly, (www.pebb.hca.wa.gov/contact_plans.html) , review the Employee Enrollment Guide (www.pebb.hca.wa.gov/documents/publications/50-100-2012.pdf), or review the Plan Comparison website (www.pebb.hca.wa.gov/compare_plans.html) .
How do I know if my doctor or hospital belongs to a plan?
Simply ask your doctor or hospital, or contact the plan directly with the information listed in the PEBB Provider Directory (www.pebb.hca.wa.gov/providers.html ).
When can I change my medical and/or dental plan?
You can change your medical and/or dental plans during Open Enrollment which occurs every November and takes effect the following January of the new year. You may also change your medical and dental plans during a Special Open Enrollment (also known as a Family Change Status) if a qualifying event occurs (e.g., marriage, child birth, divorce, etc.).
Do all members of my family have to use the same provider?
They may select the same provider but it’s not required. Each member of your family may select his or her own medical provider available through the plan. Some dental plans require selection of one dentist for the entire family.
When does health insurance coverage begin?
Permanent Employees including Faculty with an annual contract: Coverage begins on the first day of the month following the date of employment. If the date of employment is the first working day of a month, coverage begins on the date of employment.
Temp/Hourly Employees: Due to the nature of temporary/hourly assignments, temporary/hourly employees do not generally work enough hours to qualify for benefits. However, if the threshold is met, coverage for nonpermanent employees begins on the first day of the seventh calendar month following the date of employment after working for an average of half-time for six consecutive months.
Faculty hired on a quarter-by-quarter basis: Coverage for part-time faculty begins on the first day of the month following the beginning of the second consecutive quarter of half-time or more employment.
When does health insurance coverage end?
Employer-provided medical and dental insurance coverage terminates at the end of the month in which your pay status ends.
What are my life insurance options?
Basic Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance for Employees
This benefit provides $25,000 Basic Life insurance for death from any cause and $5,000 Basic Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance.
Supplemental Life Insurance for Employees
You may apply for additional amounts of life insurance in $10,000 increments from $10,000 up to $750,000. If you apply within 60 days of becoming eligible for benefits, you may obtain up to $250,000 of coverage without evidence of insurability (if under age 60) or $100,000 of coverage without evidence of insurability (if age 60 or older). If you apply after 60 days, or for coverage exceeding these amounts, you must provide evidence of insurability by completing a Life Insurance Evidence of Insurability Form. Supplemental Employee Life Insurance covers death from any cause.
Basic Dependent Life Insurance
This benefit provides $2,500 Basic Dependent Life Insurance for a spouse or qualified/Washington State-registered domestic partner and $2,500 for each eligible unmarried dependent child. If you apply no later than 60 days after becoming eligible for benefits or no later than 60 days after your marriage or the effective date of your Washington State-registered domestic partnership, your spouse or qualified/Washington State-registered domestic partner may obtain coverage without providing evidence of insurability. (Dependent children do not need to provide evidence of insurability.) If you apply after 60 days, your spouse or qualified/Washington State-registered domestic partner must provide evidence of insurability. Basic Dependent Life Insurance covers death from any cause.
Supplemental Spouse Life Insurance
If you enrolled your spouse or qualified/Washington State-registered domestic partner in Basic Dependent Life Insurance, you may apply for additional amounts of life insurance for your spouse or qualified/Washington State-registered domestic partner in $5,000 increments up to one-half of the amount of Supplemental Life Insurance you obtain for yourself. If you apply no later than 60 days of becoming eligible for benefits or no later than 60 days after your marriage or the effective date of your Washington State-registered domestic partnership, your spouse or qualified/Washington State-registered domestic partner may have up to $50,000 of coverage without providing evidence of insurability. If you apply after 60 days, or for coverage in excess of $50,000, you must provide evidence of your spouse's or qualified/Washington State-registered domestic partner's insurability by completing a Life Insurance Evidence of Insurability Form. Supplemental Spouse Life Insurance covers death from any cause.
Supplemental Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance for Employees
You may enroll in Supplemental AD&D coverage in $25,000 increments from $25,000 up to $250,000. Deaths and dismemberments from other causes are not covered.
Supplemental Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance for Dependents
If you select Supplemental AD&D Insurance for Dependents in addition to your own, your spouse or qualified/Washington State-registered domestic partner will be insured for 50 percent of your benefit if you have no dependent children. If you have children, your spouse or qualified/Washington State-registered domestic partner will be insured for 40 percent and each dependent child for 5 percent of your benefit. If there is no spouse or qualified/Washington State-registered domestic partner, each dependent child will be insured for 10 percent of your benefit. This dependent coverage will not reduce your Supplemental AD&D Insurance coverage.
How much does this insurance cost?
Basic Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance for employees is provided by your employer through the PEBB at no cost to you. The cost of Basic Dependent Life Insurance is $.50 per family per month regardless of the number of dependents. The cost of Supplemental Life Insurance for Employees and Supplemental Spouse Life Insurance is determined by your age, the amount of insurance you choose, and whether or not you or your spouse smoke. The cost of Supplemental AD&D coverage is determined by the amount you choose and whether or not you cover dependents for voluntary AD&D coverage. You can find rates at: www.pebb.hca.wa.gov/rates_life.html
Does a salary increase affect my life insurance?
No, there is no automatic increase provision for Supplemental Insurance.
Who must complete a life insurance enrollment form?
All eligible employees must complete an enrollment form even if they only want the Basic coverage. This is important to ensure that a beneficiary is named. Be sure to check the boxes declining coverages you don’t want and sign and date the form. Name a beneficiary and indicate that individual’s relationship to you.
When is my enrollment period for life insurance?
Your enrollment period for life insurance ends 60 days from your initial eligibility date.
Who is the beneficiary for my dependent’s insurance?
You are automatically the beneficiary for your enrolled dependent’s insurance if you are living at the time of the dependent’s death. If you are not living at that time, payment will be made to your surviving spouse, children, or parents in that order. If none survive, payment will be made to your estate.
Who is my beneficiary?
You may name any beneficiary you wish when you complete the enrollment form.
All eligible employees will be covered for $25,000 employer-provided Life and $5,000 AD&D Insurance under the Basic Insurance. For that reason, everyone must complete an enrollment form to designate a beneficiary. If you are married and wish to name someone other than your spouse as beneficiary, or if you have special estate planning needs, or wish to assign ownership of your Life Insurance to another person, you should seek legal/tax advice before completing your beneficiary designation. If your beneficiary is a minor (under age 18) benefits may be paid to the child’s court-appointed legal guardian or proceeds may be held in an interest-bearing account by the Company. The payment method is determined by the legal guardian.
What happens if I retire or otherwise leave employment with the state?
Your Basic and Supplemental Life Insurance continues for 31 days (60 days for persons retiring) beyond the date your employer-provided and employee-paid coverage terminate. (See the next question for these termination dates.) During that 31/60 days, you have the right to convert any amount of your Life Insurance (subject to a minimum of $1,000) to an individual permanent whole life policy at the conversion rates for your age at that time. ReliaStar Life Insurance Company must accept you for the conversion benefit regardless of your health. Should death occur during the 31/60 day conversion period, a death benefit in the maximum amount for which an individual policy could have been issued will be paid, whether or not the application for conversion had been made. You may also convert Life Insurance on your dependents. Conversion is not available for any AD&D Insurance.
Note: If you are in good health when your coverage ends, it may be to your advantage to apply for a lower cost type of Life Insurance which would not be available under the conversion option. You should discuss this with a Relistar Life agent or a life insurance agent of your choice during the 31/60 day conversion period.
Most retirees will be eligible for Retiree Term Life Insurance if they apply for coverage within 60 days of their date of retirement. A description of coverage and an enrollment form will be furnished by their Retirement Office at the time of final application for retirement. If you do not enroll in the retiree life insurance within your initial 60 day enrollment period, you will be required to provide evidence of good health, subject to approval by the underwriter, to enroll at a later date. Coverage would become effective the first of the month following approval.
How much life insurance should I have?
This is largely a matter of individual estate planning. However, the minimum amount should be enough to cover funeral expenses when you die. The Basic Life Insurance coverage is designed to help toward these costs.
When one spouse terminates coverage, the actively employed spouse may apply for transfer of the terminated spouse’s employee or Dependent Life Insurance up to the maximum allowed under the active employee’s coverage. Application for transfer must be made within 31 days of the date the first spouse terminates employment.
How are claims filed?
In the event of death, your Benefits office should be notified immediately. That office will have instructions for submitting claims. They will need a certified death certificate and the beneficiary’s Social Security number to submit a claim.
How long can I continue PEBB life insurance when I am not actively at work?
If you self-pay the premiums through your payroll or insurance office, you may continue Life Insurance for yourself and your dependents under the following conditions:
Up to 18 months between periods of employer paid coverage, if you are a part-time faculty or seasonal employee;
Up to 29 months during any authorized leave without pay, while receiving time loss benefits under Workers’ Compensation, during a layoff (reduction-in-force), or while awaiting hearing for a dismissal action;
If you self-pay premiums while you are off work and complete an enrollment form within 31 days of your return to work, you will not be required to furnish evidence of good health to reinstate your optional coverages.
If you choose not to self-pay the premiums, your coverage will terminate. When you return to active work, you must provide evidence of good health to reinstate coverage.
If you are on an approved leave of up to 12 weeks under the Family and Medical Leave Act, your employer will continue providing Basic coverage for you without cost. If you choose not to self pay premiums for optional coverage during that time period, your optional coverage will be reinstated to the amounts you had under this plan immediately prior to your leave on the date you return. Your return must be within the period authorized by your employer but not longer than 12 weeks. You must complete an enrollment form within 31 days of your return to work and also resume paying the required contribution at that time.
What is Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance?
Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance provides extra benefits for certain injuries or death resulting from an accident. If you die from a covered accidental bodily injury, the full amount of AD&D benefits (Principal Sum) for which you are enrolled will be paid to your beneficiary in addition to any life insurance you have under the PEBB program.
For covered accidental losses, loss of both hands, both arms, both feet, both legs, or loss of sight in both eyes, the AD&D coverage pays you the full amount of benefits (Principal Sum) for which you are enrolled.
If you should lose one hand, one arm, one foot, one leg, or the sight of one eye as a result of a covered accident, AD&D benefits equal to half of the amount of your AD&D coverage (Principal Sum) will be paid to you.
How do I drop or reduce coverage for myself or my dependents?
You may drop or reduce optional coverage at any time. Complete a change form and submit to Benefits. Your change in coverage will take effect on the last day of the calendar month in which you elect to drop coverage. Of course, all employees remain in Basic coverage as long as they are eligible.
If you drop or reduce coverage on yourself or your spouse, evidence of good health will be required to re-enroll at a later date.
Long Term Disability Insurance:
Why is Long Term Disability (LTD) Insurance important?
Your continued ability to pay for food, shelter, and other commitments is probably dependent upon your receiving a paycheck. Six out of ten people between ages 20 and 60 will be disabled for some period of time before age 65. If you are between the ages of 35 and 65, you are six times more likely to become disabled than to die. The PEBB-sponsored Long Term Disability Insurance Plan is designed to help protect you from the financial risk of loss of earnings due to serious injury or illness. Basic LTD Plan coverage is provided at no cost to you. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may also enroll in Optional LTD Plan insurance at your expense. LTD benefits are coordinated with other sources of replacement income available to you during periods of Disability (such as Workers’ Compensation, Social Security, and Retirement Plan benefits) to provide valuable protection of your earnings while controlling your premium cost.
What are the LTD benefits?
The PEBB-sponsored LTD plan has 2 parts: the Basic Plan and the Optional Plan. The Basic Plan The Basic LTD Plan provides a benefit of 60% of the first $400 of Predisability Earnings, reduced by any deductible Income . The maximum benefit payable is $240 per month. The minimum benefit is $50 per month. Benefits begin after 90 days of Disability or after the period of your accumulated sick leave, whichever period is longer, and continue during your Disability up to the Maximum Benefit Period.
The Optional Plan This plan allows most employees eligible for the Basic LTD Plan to apply for additional benefits. When combined with Basic benefits, the Optional Plan will pay 60% of the first $10,000 of your Predisability Earnings, reduced by any Deductible Income. The minimum combined benefit is $100 per month. The Optional Plan benefit will increase in accordance with the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) provision as explained in Question 3. Optional Plan benefits begin after the end of the Benefit Waiting Period (see Question 6) and continue during Disability up to the Maximum Benefit Period. Employees enrolled in the Optional Plan are also covered under the Retirement Supplement benefit.
Does the Optional Plan provide a supplement to my retirement income?
Yes. Employees enrolled in the Optional Plan who are eligible to be covered under a Department of Retirement Systems plan (PERS, TRS, LEOFF) or the CWU Retirement Plan (CWURP) have the following type of retirement supplement:
The amount paid to your pension plan on your behalf will be equal to the sum of the contribution you are required to make to the CWURP, and the contribution made by the Employer to the CWURP on your behalf, not to exceed 15% of the first $10,000 of your Predisability Earnings.
All other employees enrolled in the Optional Plan who have at least five years of employment with the state have a retirement supplement monthly benefit, which is determined as follows:
Two percent (2%) of the first $10,000 of the Predisability Earnings at the time of Disability times the number of "qualifying years of Disability," not to exceed 60%. (In case of a duty disability for employees covered under PERS 1, the benefit will be 1% of the first $10,000 of Predisability Earnings times the number of "qualifying years of Disability," not to exceed 30%).
However, no benefit is payable if the amount determined above is less than $50 per month.
What is the Benefit Waiting Period?
The Benefit Waiting Period is the period you must be continuously Disabled before LTD benefits become payable. The Benefit Waiting Period under the Basic Plan is the first 90 days of Disability or the period of your accumulated sick leave, whichever is longer. You choose the length of your Benefit Waiting Period under the Optional Plan at the time you enroll. The Benefit Waiting Period for Optional Plan benefits is either 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, 240, 300, or 360 days of each period of Disability, depending upon your choice, or the period of your accumulated sick leave, whichever is longer. LTD Benefits are paid at the end of each month you qualify for them.
Can I change my Benefit Waiting Period under the Optional Plan once enrolled?
Yes. You may lengthen your Optional Plan Benefit Waiting Period at any time, but you may reduce it only by furnishing evidence of good health satisfactory to the insurance company. To maintain the lowest premium cost possible, you may contact your insurance, personnel or payroll office to lengthen your Benefit Waiting Period when your sick leave accumulation exceeds the Benefit Waiting Period you have selected.
What is Deductible Income?
Deductible Income includes: Sick pay, shared leave, and other salary continuation paid to you by your Employer, but not including vacation pay or annual leave. Your Work Earnings as described in the Return to Work Incentive. Any amount you receive or are eligible to receive because of your disability under any Workers’ Compensation law or similar law, including amounts for partial or total disability, whether permanent, temporary, or vocational. Any amount you, your spouse, or your children under age 18 receive or are eligible to receive because of your disability or retirement under the Federal Social Security Act, Canada Pension Plan, Quebec Pension Plan, or any similar plan or act. Any amount you receive or are eligible to receive because of your disability under any state disability income benefit law or similar law. Amounts you receive or are eligible to receive because of your disability under any other group disability insurance coverage. Your Deductible Income from your Employer’s retirement plan. Any amount you receive by compromise, settlement, or other method as a result of a claim for any of the above, whether disputed or undisputed. Exceptions: Deductible Income does not include:
Any cost of living increase in any Deductible Income other than Work Earnings, if the increase becomes effective while you are disabled and while you are eligible for the Deductible Income. Reimbursement for hospital, medical, or surgical expense. Reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred in connection with a claim for Deductible Income. Benefits from any individual disability insurance policy. California Workers’ Compensation benefits for permanent total or permanent partial disability. Early retirement benefits under the Federal Social Security Act which are not actually received. Group credit or mortgage disability insurance benefits. Vacation pay ("annual leave"). Military retirement or disability benefits.
When am I covered under the Basic Plan?
Your insurance under the Basic Plan becomes effective on the first day of the month following the date you become eligible. Evidence of good health is not required for the Basic Plan.
When am I covered under the Optional Plan?
If you apply for the Optional Plan within 31 days from the date you first become eligible for PEBB-sponsored benefits (not as a transfer to a new agency, school district, or ESD), evidence of good health will not be required, and your insurance becomes effective on the first day of the month following the date you apply. If you apply for the Optional Plan more than 31 days after your initial eligibility date, evidence of good health will be required, at your expense, and coverage does not become effective until the first of the month after your application has been approved by the insurance company.
Upon return to work from an unpaid leave, if you were covered under the Optional Plan in the month immediately preceding the unpaid leave, or if you return within the first 12 weeks of approved family leave, you may reinstate your Optional coverage without furnishing evidence of good health only if you notify the Benefits office in writing within 31 days of your return to your predisability work schedule. Your Optional coverage then reinstates on the first of the month following your return to your predisability work schedule. Application must be within 31 days of reinstatement and mailed directly to your personnel/payroll officer.
Note: If sickness, injury, or pregnancy prevents you from working the day before the scheduled effective date of your Optional insurance, your Optional insurance will not become effective until the day after the complete one full day of active work.
How do I file a claim?
Report your claim to the Benefits office. They will help you complete the necessary paperwork to file a claim.
Who is the insurance company?
The Public Employees Benefits Board has contracted with Standard Insurance Company of Portland, Oregon to provide this coverage.
What is VEBA?
A VEBA is a tax-exempt trust authorized by the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(9). At retirement, 25% of your sick leave balance is placed in the VEBA medical spending account which allows reimbursements for your medical expenses and insurance premium payments.
How much sick leave cash-out will be contributed to the VEBA-MEP at retirement?
When you retire, the total amount equivalent to your sick leave cash-out, based on your salary at the time of retirement, will be contributed to your VEBA-MEP account. Your cash-out amount is calculated at ¼ of your accumulated unused sick leave balance.
When and how do I get money out of my VEBA-MEP?
Your VEBA-MEP is opened when your Employer sends sick leave cash-out funds to the VEBA Plan Administrator. You will be mailed a Welcome Packet and then you may submit a VEBA Medical Claim Form for your qualified out-of-pocket medical, dental or vision expenses incurred by yourself, your spouse, and/or your qualified dependents. Claims payment is efficient and hassle free.
You may file claims for any amount. Benefits will be paid until your account is used up. You may also arrange to have monthly insurance premiums paid by using the VEBA Systematic Payment Form. If your spouse or dependents are covered by different medical plans, their insurance premiums can also be paid out of this account.
Can the cost of any qualified retiree medical plan be paid from my VEBA-MEP?
Yes. The cost of any qualified medical plan you elect to use after retirement can be paid out of this account, including PEBB plans, Medicare Supplement Plans, etc. If you join the PEBB Retiree Medical Plan, you can authorize the Department of Retirement Systems to deduct your medical premium from your defined benefit pension check (PERS/TRS retirement plan members). You can then arrange with the VEBA Plan Administrator to directly reimburse you from your VEBA account by using the VEBA Systematic Payment Form. Direct deposit is available.
Who is the VEBA Plan Administrator?
Meritain Health is the VEBA Administrator. Meritain is an experienced employee benefits administrator specializing in the administration of ERISA health and welfare plans. Meritain provides all correspondence, accounting, and benefit payment services.
Who is responsible for developing and managing this Plan?
The VEBA Trust was developed and sponsored by the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), and the Washington Association of School Business Officials (WASBO). It is managed by six Trustees appointed by the sponsoring organizations. Over 25,000 employees have participated in the VEBA Trust since its inception in 1984.
What are the Trustee’s responsibilities?
The Trustees are fiduciaries and have a duty to act prudently and in the best interest of all the Plan participants and beneficiaries.
Will I receive a statement of my account?
You will receive a semi-annual statement detailing all activity in your account. You may also call and request additional statements at any time.
How are expenses paid?
All expenses of administering the Plan are paid by reductions of investment earnings, or, if there are no earnings, charged as a deduction to a participant’s account.
Why can’t people decide if they want to participate individually in the VEBA plan, instead of forcing everyone into the plan?
The "all or none" comes from IRS rules. VEBA Medical Expense Plans were created by the governing bodies, but they must comply with tax laws. The IRS very clearly states that if you give employees the choice of receiving cash or having a benefit, then that benefit/cash must be taxable as income. The only way to protect the tax status of the VEBA account is to make it such that employees don't have the option and/or choice to receive cash. Therefore, we can create a VEBA MEP, and allow people to vote participation in (or out), but once it's voted in, all employees must participate. In other words, you cannot provide a tax free benefit without making everyone participate.
The whole benefit of the VEBA-MEP is the tax protection. In the past, if you were to retire from the University, you could cash out your sick leave, but it would be taxed at 25%. So, you lose 25% of the 25% cash out. The VEBA MEP accounts were created, because it was presumed that the majority of people who were retiring from the University would have some sort of health care costs during their retirement years. Specifically, costs associated with premiums for retiree health care coverage and/or Medicare, or costs associated with keeping themselves healthy in old age. This tax protection would allow people 25% more money to spend on what is pretty much a guaranteed need.
Can employees contribute additional money to their VEBA account?
No. Additional contributions are not allowed at this time. However, congress is considering legislation that would allow for the creation of a Health Savings Account. This account would be similar to the University’s Flexible Savings Account or a Personal IRA. It would allow taxpayers to put aside money on a tax free basis to cover health care related expenses. This is something to watch for in the future.
Is there a maximum allowed cash-out?
No, whatever your sick leave balance is, it will be cashed out at 25% upon retirement.
Who does the Employee Assistance program serve?
EAP is a free resource for CWU employees and their families. The EAP program provides referral information for local resources to assist with a wide range of issues including, but not limited to, stress, addictions, counseling, & legal services.
What can I expect when I call or visit EAP?
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides a confidential place to talk about the issues that are affecting you, your family, or the workplace. They will assist with short-term problem solving or provide referrals to resources that will best meet your needs.
Is my visit confidential?
Yes, your visit to EAP is confidential. However, there are certain state and federal laws that provide for exceptions:
• Abuse of a minor child
• Abuse of an elderly person
• Abuse of a disabled person
• Threats to self or others
• Threats to state property
If any of the above are disclosed, the EA Professional has the responsibility to report this information to the appropriate Authority.
The other exception (RCW 41.04.730) is if your supervisor/HR directly refers you to EAP prior to your initial contact with EAP for work performance issues. EAP is required to let your supervisor know:
• Whether or not the referred employee made an appointment
• The date and time the employee arrived and departed
• Whether further appointments were scheduled
Participation or non-participation in the EAP is voluntary and cannot be used in any decision affecting an employee's job security, promotional opportunities, corrective or disciplinary action, or other employment rights.
Can I use state time to visit EAP?
Employees would need to use accrued leave, compensatory time, leave without pay, and/or request a work schedule adjustment unless the employee is being referred by their supervisor to EAP.
Do I have to follow EAP recommendations?
It is totally up to you. Our goal is to offer you the best recommendations that we can. In the final analysis, you are the one who is responsible for working out the solution to your problem. Only you can decide which option(s) you choose to follow.
I have a disability. How do I arrange for reasonable accommodations?
Send documentation of your disability to CWU’s Disability Services (DS), submit an Employee Notification of Disability and Request for Accommodation(s) Form and then call DS to schedule an appointment with a DS representative.
I am getting older and as a result have more aches and pains. Some of these seem to be attributable to my workstation. What do I do?
We recommend that you begin by consulting a “qualified medical professional”. If your medical provider believes that your discomfort rises to the level of disability, complete the accommodation process above.
What are the most common disabilities that require accommodations at CWU?
In the workplace the most commonly requested accommodations are associated with back injuries, mobility limitations and chronic health conditions.
What is documentation of a disability?
Documentation of a disability is a written description of the diagnosis and functional limitations caused by the disability and must be generated by a “qualified medical or diagnostic professional”.
I don’t get along with my supervisor and the stress of dealing with him/her every day is making my disability worse. Can I get a different supervisor as an accommodation?
No – changing an employee’s supervisor is not considered a reasonable accommodation.
I had minor surgery and during my recovery period it is difficult to walk any distance. Can I get a temporary disabled parking permit?
Yes. Be sure that your documentation gives detail about how long your recovery will take.
I’m recovering from [surgery/an injury] and would like to return to work but part of my job requires me to [lift/stretch/stand for long periods/bend/etc.]. Is “light duty” an accommodation for my temporary disability?
Yes. A temporary light duty assignment can be a reasonable accommodation depending on the availability of light duty work.I may need to take a lot of sick leave [for treatment/to care for my spouse or child with a serious medical condition/to recover from surgery]. Is there anyone else on campus I should consult?
I may need to take a lot of sick leave [for treatment/to care for my spouse or child with a serious medical condition/to recover from surgery]. Is there anyone else on campus I should consult?
Yes. You may want to call your Human Resources Representative and inquire about the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
I have a disability. How do I get help?
• Send documentation of your disability to Disability Services (DS).
• Submit a Request for Disability Services Form.
• Discuss your accommodation needs with a DS representative.
• Attend a DS Intake Meeting.What is documentation of a disability?
What is documentation of a disability?
It’s a written description of the diagnosis and functional limitations caused by the disability. It has to be provided by a “medical or diagnostic professional”
How long does it take to get accommodations in my CWU classes?
It’s important to plan ahead! The sooner DS receives your documentation and you request services, the sooner you receive accommodations. You must plan to attend a DS Intake Meeting prior to using your accommodations.
What academic adjustments/auxiliary aids will I receive?
It depends on how your disability affects you in school. It’ll be discussed when you talk with a DS representative.
I received services at the community college how do I just transfer them over?
You can’t. Each school decides what accommodations you will be offered. It’s based on your documentation and the information you share with the DS representative.
I am in an on-line program - how does that impact my need for academic adjustments?
Some of your academic adjustments will apply to on-line classes and some won’t.
Do I have to tell my faculty or peers about my disability?
You never have to tell your peers that you have a disability. You only have to tell your professor if you want to use an academic adjustment in that professor’s class.
Is there someone in Disability Services who can help make sure I get up on time, attend my classes, study for my exams and complete my assignments?
No. This is called “coaching” and is not considered an accommodation for disability. DS recommends that you develop an organizational system (we may be able to help with this) or hire a life coach.
Does information about my disability show up in my CWU records?
No. Disability Services keeps all disability-related documentation in secure files and no “flags” are placed in your CWU records which would identify you as a student with a disability.
Can I get tutoring as an accommodation for my disability?
Tutoring (e.g., individualized instruction) is not considered an accommodation for disability. However, there are other resources and programs which you may be eligible for. Speak with a DS representative to explore this issue.
I really struggle in [math/English/foreign language/other] classes because of my Specific Learning Disability. Will CWU waive graduation requirements as an academic adjustment?
No. In some cases, it’s possible to arrange for a course substitution. However, it’s important to remember that – at the college level – students with disabilities are offered academic adjustments to “level the playing field” and are expected to complete all educational requirements.
Recommendation: Go into every course thinking, “how can I get through this” rather than “how can I get out of this.”
Will I be allowed unlimited class absences as an accommodation for my disability?
No. If your professor has an attendance policy, you’ll need to discuss flexible attendance with the professor. Your professor can fail you if you miss too many classes, even if the absences are because of your disability.
If I miss class because of my disability, will I get notes from the professor?
Not necessarily. Most professors expect all students to get notes and assignments from a classmate if you miss class.
Will my professors remind me of assignments and due dates?
Probably not. Your professors expect all students to read, save, and consult the course syllabus for assignments and due dates.
Will my professors give frequent tests so I don’t have to memorize so much information all at once?
Not necessarily. Some professors give frequent exams, others may only give one or two exams during the quarter.
I struggle with exams but I’ve always been able to raise my grades with good grades on my homework and extra credit projects. Will that be the same in college?
No. Grades may not be given for homework assignments and extra credit is often not available.
I work really hard in my classes and my teachers have often given me credit for a “good faith effort”. Will that be the same in college?
No. Although a “good faith effort” is important when you need the professor’s help, it won’t substitute for making the grades.
I don’t always understand things when I read them but my teachers have always explained those things during the lecture. Will that be the same in college?
Not necessarily. Professors may not follow the textbook. They may expect you to figure out how the information from your textbook relates to the information from the lectures. Professors are required to have office hours each week and you might consider visiting with your professor when you have questions.
What is Central Access?
Central Access is an accessible media production center, created to provide accurate and affordable accessible materials for of with individuals with print-related disabilities at Central Washington University and for universities and agencies nationwide.
If you are a Disability Resource Provider interested in learning more about Central Access go to our main page http://www.cwu.edu/disability-support/accessible-media-production
Who uses accessible materials?
Individuals with print related disabilities often benefit from accessible materials (also referred to as Alt Format). Print related disabilities include visual impairments, physical disabilities or reading disorders.
Students, faculty and staff at Central Washington University with print related disabilities use accessible materials.
What types of accessible materials does Central Access produce?
• E-text (electronic text accessed using screen readers or specialized devices)
o Text Selectable PDF
o Edited word documents
o Literary braille
o Nemeth braille
• Tactile graphics
How do I decide what format is best for me?
A DS representative will help you decide which format best suits your needs. There are a variety of factors that must be considered including the nature of your disability, the subject matter and your familiarity with technology.
Do I have to pay extra for accessible materials?
NO. Students who are approved to receive accessible materials as a part of their accommodation plan must purchase class materials just like any other student but there is no extra charge for accessible materials.
How do I request materials?
If you have been approved to receive accessible materials as part of your accommodation plan, you should request materials through your MyBooks account.
If you do not have an accommodation plan, contact the DS office to set up an intake appointment.
When should I request materials?
It is essential requests are made as soon as possible to ensure that Central Access has time to produce your materials. Requests that are received after the due date may not be ready when classes start.
I can’t remember the password to my MyBooks account!
On the MyBooks login page, click on the link to reset your password. An email will be sent to the email attached to your account (usually your CWU Outlook address.)
I do not see any books in my account!
If you received an email telling you that materials have been hosted to your account but you do not see them when you log in, email us at Centralaccess@cwu.edu
What should I do in the event of a work-related accident/injury/illness?
The first step is to immediately notify your supervisor. If needed, get the necessary medical care. The next step is to complete the Employee Accident Report Form and forward to Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) within 24 hours or as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact EHS if you have any questions regarding your accident or the Workers’ Compensation process.
How do I properly dispose of unwanted chemicals?
All chemicals with any hazardous properties (flammable, corrosive, toxic or reactive) must be disposed of as hazardous waste through the disposal process managed by EHS (do not dump chemicals down the sink or any drain – outside or inside). Please refer to the Hazardous Waste Disposal Procedures for detailed instructions regarding the campus disposal procedures. All hazardous waste is disposed of at no cost to the individual departments. Please feel free to contact EHS with any questions.
What should I do in the event of a chemical spill?
All departments using chemicals are expected to have the ability and the equipment (spill kits) to clean up a spill in the quantities normally used. The spill kits should be in the locations where the chemicals are used, and the workers using the chemicals should be trained in the use of the spill kits. Should a large spill occur which exceeds the department’s ability to control/clean up, evacuate the area immediately and contact 911 for emergency services.
Who do I contact if I have health and/or safety questions or concerns?
For CWU employees, the immediate supervisor/department head should be the first contact for concerns about workplace health and safety. Should questions remain, EHS may be contacted here. For non-employees (students, visitors, etc.), appropriate contacts may be faculty advisors, University Housing representatives, Conference Services representatives, etc. EHS may be contacted at any point as well.
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