Benefits Enrollment and Life Event Changes

During the College's annual benefits enrollment period (typically held in May/June), employees have the opportunity to make new benefit elections or changes to current benefit elections for the upcoming academic year.  
 
Under IRS rules, employees generally must make their benefit elections before the start of the plan year (or when they become newly eligible during the plan year), and those elections usually must remain in place for the entire plan year. This is the only time during the year when employees can make benefit changes, unless the employee has a 'qualified life event' as defined by the IRS.   
 
Qualified life events include the following:
  • Change in legal marital status such as marriage, divorce/legal separation, annulment or death of a spouse
  • Change in number of dependents such as birth, adoption, placement for adoption or death
  • Change in dependent eligibility such as gain/loss of eligibility due to age, student status
  • Change in employee's employment status such as commencement or termination of employee, spouse or dependent's employment, change from part-time to full-time employment status or from full-time to part-time employment status
  • Change in employee residence
Note that mid-year benefit election changes must apply prospectively in most cases; a mid-year benefit election change relevant to the birth or adoption of a child can apply retroactively in certain circumstances. In all cases, final determinations are made based on relevant IRS regulations. 
 
Employees must notify the College in writing within 30 days of the qualifying life event in order to make eligible changes. Notification of a qualifying life event should be submitted to benefits@bennington.edu
 
Please contact Human Resources for additional guidance.