See the links below for information about Unit 1 benefits:
Applications for the Unit 1 Summer Financial Assistance Funds (the Childcare Financial Assistance Fund, International Health Plan Assistance Fund, Unfunded Students Assistance Fund, and Research Assistants Defence Fund) are still being processed. Cheques will still be mailed by the end of July, as stated in the confirmation emails. To clarify, the Graduate Student Bursary Fund (GSBF) is a separate fund unrelated to the Summer Financial Assistance Funds. We are monitoring the potential of a postal workers strike and will be in touch if that changes our plans to mail cheques.
Health Benefits – More Details
NB: To opt-in your dependents to your primary plan (in order for them to have access to the Top-up Plan), you must opt them in annually, at the beginning of the term you are first registered in. For graduate students, visit www.studentcare.ca to opt-in online during the periods below. Members with primary coverage from APUS, SCSU, and UTSU should refer to their respective website for similar deadlines.
Fall 2016: September 1 – September 30, 2016
Winter 2017: January 1 – January 30, 2017
To purchase a 12 Month Extension after Graduation please visit www.studentcare.ca.
New for 2016/17 Top-up Plan:
1) The psychotherapy coverage has increased from a $500 maximum after the base plan amount is used up, to $1000 per year after the base plan is maxed. This was set out as a priority in Unit 1 Membership Meeting last summer!
2) The chiropractor, physiotherapy, and Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) benefits are going up by $15 per visit each, to a $60 combined maximum (base Greenshield Plan through the GSU + Top-Up Plan) per visit;
3) And the combined paramedical maximum is increasing from $1000 to $1300 per year to accommodate the higher per visit maximum coverage, as outlined in the above point (#2);
4) We have negotiated an increase in drug coverage at 90% of most prescription drug costs from $5000 to $10,000 per year;
5) And the dental maximum, at 80% coverage of dental costs, will be increasing from $1000 to $1250 per year;
6) The Healthcare Spending Account (HCSA) for those with a spouse and/or children enrolled in their base plan will increase from $400 to $500 per year. This was also set out as a priority in last summer’s Unit 1 Membership Meeting;
7) Lastly, we will be receiving money to set up a union-administrated fund to help cover the cost of premiums, starting with family premiums
Most questions are answered in the above documents. However, if you are now enrolled and have specific questions about claims, coverage, or online services, you can contact Green Shield Canada at 1-888-711-1119. If you have any questions about your eligibility or are not yet loaded into the Plan, please contact the U of T Benefits Department at email@example.com or 416-978-2598.
Please note that in order for plans to be properly coordinated it is vital that you register for your plan services with your name exactly as it appears in your student/PDF enrolment.
Tuition Assistance Fund (TAF)
The Tuition Assistance Fund (TAF) reduces the amount of tuition each member pays out of pocket to 50% of domestic tuition, once all funding (excluding wages) is taken into account. This fund requires no application, and is paid out automatically by the University in each September following the eligible academic year. The round of TAF disbursements that will be outgoing this September is for the 2015-16 academic year.
1) You must have been beyond the “funded cohort” and in the 5th or 6th year of your PhD (research stream) or in the 2nd year of your Masters (research stream) during the 2015-16 academic year.
2) You must have done Unit 1 (TA, CI, CPO, etc.) work between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2016. There is no minimum number of hours.
Disbursements are based on the amount you were charged for tuition and the amount you received in funding between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2016.
Conceptually, the fund brings down the amount of tuition any eligible member pays “out of pocket” to 50% the domestic tuition rate. Mathematically, that’s most easily expressed as: tuition minus funding minus 50% domestic tuition. For the 2015-16 academic year, domestic tuition for the year was $7,060 and international was $19,550, so a domestic student’s disbursement is $3,530 minus funding and an international student’s is $16,020 minus funding.
For the purposes of the TAF, funding includes: all supervisor stipends, internal and external grants and awards (DCA, OGS, SSHRC, etc), any T4A RAships (all RAships in the Life and Physical Sciences and Engineering departments and some RAships in other departments), OSAP and other financial aid grants, and any other funding provided by your supervisor, your department, the university, the Canadian or other government, or other funding bodies. Funding does not include: wages, OSAP or other financial aid loans, BSWDs, or SGS emergency grants.
PROCESS AND TIMELINE
There is no application for this fund; the University automatically disburses it to eligible members. If you meet the eligibility requirements above, you will receive an email from the University to your UofT email account letting you know how much you’re receiving (even if it’s $0).
We will notify members via our listserv and on this page when those emails have gone out. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the listserv if you’re not already receiving our emails.) At that time, we will lay out the steps to take if you disagree with the amount the university tells you or if you didn’t hear from them but believe you’re eligible.
Members in the following funding situations are much more likely to have their disbursements miscalculated by the University:
– SJD students in year 4
– Direct Entry PhD students in year 7
– Students not enrolled for the full year (due to leaves, early graduation, late start, etc.)
– Students in a partially funded year (including Aerospace MASc year 2, Civil Engineering MASc year 2, Exercise Sciences MSc years 1-2, Computer Science MSc year 2 and PhD year 4, Drama MA year 1 and PhD year 5, French MA year 1 and PhD year 5)
– Students who received any of the following between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2016: conference, research, or travel grant; BSWD (Bursary for Students With Disabilities); SGS emergency grants
We will be posting a form we recommend members in any of these situations fill out to help us ensure you are receiving the full amount you’re eligible for.
Graduate Student Bursary Fund (GSBF)
We have now contacted all members that we have determined may be eligible for the Graduate Student Bursary Fund (GSBF) for the September 2014 – August 2015 academic year through their University of Toronto email accounts. These personalised disbursement emails outline the next steps to take to claim any funds you may be eligible for.
This fund will top up 2014-15 funding to $17,000 + tuition and fees for anyone who had Unit 1 work (TA, CI, CPO, etc.) during that year. If you believe you are eligible for the GSBF for the 2014-15 academic year and have not received a disbursement email from the Union, please check all of your U of T email accounts, including junk and spam folders. If you cannot find the email anywhere and you believe that you are eligible, please see this form.
Here are the steps and projected timeline of the process:
- The claims forms have been opened for a first phase. Eligible members can fill out the relevant claims form. Depending on whether the amount in the email you received is accurate or not, you will either fill out a Confirmation Form or a Correction Form (along with relevant documentation). All instructions on how to proceed are in each member’s personalised disbursement email.
- On August 8 at 11:59pm, the forms will close temporarily and all claims submitted will be processed.
- On September 1, the forms will open again for a second phase. Since it is very difficult to process funds when the forms are open, we are having two phases for the 2014-15 round only in order to balance the two competing needs: the need to reach as many members as possible (which means having the forms open for a long time) and the need to get members their money as soon as possible (which means having the forms close quickly).
- On September 30 at 11:59pm, the forms will close permanently and all claims submitted will be processed. No claims will be accepted after this deadline.
For more information about the disbursement process, a presentation on it is available here: https://goo.gl/Mbg67N. There will be info sessions during the months of July and September to assist members with the process. If you have any questions, check out the GSBF FAQ here: https://goo.gl/IUVFHh. The FAQ will be continuously updated as we receive more questions, so if you have questions that aren’t answered there, please contact email@example.com.
The following are the major takeaway points about the GSBF disbursement process:
- You will have to fill out at least one form in order to get your GSBF.
- The Union will contact you about your eligibility, provide you the relevant forms, and guide you through the process.
- Do not expect that the initial disbursement amount that we calculate for you based on the University’s data will be correct.
- Check the amount of TAship in your funding letter against what’s given in the disbursement email – this is the most likely culprit for an incorrect disbursement amount.
- The Union has all of the money, and will ensure that no one will fall through the cracks. The process may be complicated, but we will ensure that the fund is distributed fairly and equitably.