Domestic Partnership Privileges for Students: Frequently Asked Questions

Published on Feb 28, 2017

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1. What is a domestic partnership?

  • Two individuals of the same gender who live together in a long-term relationship of indefinite duration; and
  • Both partners have an exclusive mutual commitment in which they agree to be jointly responsible for each other's common welfare and share financial obligations; and
  • The partners are not related by blood to a degree of closeness which would prohibit legal marriage in the state in which they legally reside; and
  • The partners may not be married to any other person.

Students who meet the criteria listed above must also demonstrate joint responsibility for each other’s common welfare and financial obligations.

2. What privileges is my domestic partner eligible for?

Privileges for students include:

  • Access to University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP)
  • Access to Fitness/ Recreation (via Ratner Athletic Center/ Henry Crown Field House memberships)
  • Access to campus libraries
  • Approval for a University ID card

3. How do I register my domestic partner?

  • Complete a Statement of Domestic Partnership form available online before July 1, 2017.
  • Provide copies of at least three (3) of the following documents:
    • Joint mortgage or lease
    • Designation of domestic partner as beneficiary for life insurance & retirement contract
    • Designation of domestic partner as primary beneficiary in student’s Legal Will
    • Durable property and health care powers of attorney
    • Joint ownership of motor vehicle, joint checking account, or joint credit account
  • Form and documents must be submitted to Mario Polizzi, Senior Associate Dean of Students in the University and Executive Director for Administration and Planning, in the Office of the Dean of Students in the University, at mpolizzi@uchicago.edu or by fax at 773.926.0919.
  • Upon review and approval, the student shall receive a copy of the approved Statement of Domestic Partnership and will have thirty (31) days to enroll his/her domestic partner in the available privileges.

4. Why is the University of Chicago making changes to its domestic partner program?

Following the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage, the University revised its program to reflect the change in law. To respect the relationships of current students, the new program will continue to offer privileges to all students who are currently participating in the program or register as domestic partners before July 1, 2017.

5. How will the new program be different?

Effective July 1, 2017,

  • Current participants will continue to receive privileges under the existing program and do not have to take any action, as long as they remain in their existing partnership.
  • Current students who verify their domestic partnership arrangement on or before June 30, 2017, will be grandfathered into the existing program, as long as they remain in their existing partnership.
  • Partners who are not grandfathered into the existing domestic partnership program before July 1, 2017 will need to be married or be in a civil union to receive privileges.

6. Why is the Office of the Dean of Students in the University communicating the changes now?

To provide adequate time for students to register current domestic partners with the University of Chicago.  A student with a domestic partner registered with the University on or before June 30, 2017, will be grandfathered into the existing program, as long as they remain in their existing partnership.

7. Are current domestic partners impacted by this change?

No, current registered domestic partners will continue to receive privileges under the existing program, as long as they remain in their existing partnership.

8. If my domestic partner is currently enrolled in U-SHIP, do I need to do anything?

No action is needed to continue active health insurance enrollment for registered domestic partners, as long as they remain in their existing partnership.

9. What happens if my registered domestic partner is not enrolled in U-SHIP prior to July 1, 2017?

After July 1, 2017, partners who are not grandfathered into the existing domestic partnership program will need to be married or be in a civil union to receive privileges. Domestic partners registered before July 1, 2107 will be grandfathered into the existing program and will remain an eligible dependent for health insurance purposes as long as they remain in their existing partnership.

10. What happens if my partner and I terminate our relationship, or my relationship no longer meets the criteria of a domestic partnership?

If a partnership that is grandfathered into the existing program is dissolved or ceases to meet the criteria of the current program after July 1, 2017, then the former partner is no longer eligible to receive partnership privileges.

11. What happens if I leave the University and return?

If you leave the University prior to June 30, 2017, and return after this date, your prior domestic partnership will no longer be honored.

12. Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

Contact Mario Polizzi, Senior Associate Dean of Students in the University and Executive Director for Administration and Planning, at mpolizzi@uchicago.edu or 773.702.5243.

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