Leaving USC

View from Waite Phillips Hall rooftop

USC benefits end at the end of the month in which you terminate, but you can continue some benefits at your expense. Continuing medical coverage is available for a limited time, but you must act within stated deadlines (within 60 days) in order to preserve the right to continue your coverage. Details on that and other benefits below.

Leaving USC – checklist

Right away

  • Contact the investment company handling your retirement to discuss options
  • Contact USC Transportation about scheduling termination of your parking permit or public transit pass if applicable
  • Consider how your termination date will affect Tuition Assistance/Tuition Exchange benefits and what your financial responsibility may be for tuition remaining in semester
  • Contact your HR/Payroll Analyst about turning in university property and to discuss final paycheck details, including which deductions will be taken
  • If you have been laid off, your HR Partners will connect you with outplacement help

Within 31 days

  • Decide whether to continue life, AD&D, and Metlife voluntary products, contact each vendor individually if you wish to continue coverage.

Within 60 days

  • Decide whether to continue health insurance through COBRA, an ACA marketplace plan, or Medicare if eligible

By the end of the calendar year in which you terminate

If enrolled into health care flexible spending, your credit card is canceled the day of termination. 

  • You have till the end of the month to incur services which are paid out of pocket and a reimbursement submitted to Health Equity. 
  • You have till March 31st to submit to services rendered while you were a plan participant. 

If you are enrolled into the dependent care flexible spending, you have until the end of the year to incur services to max out your remaining balance.  

  • You have till March 31st to submit for services incurred in the previous year 
  • You may extend your health care flexible spending thru COBRA

Emeriti Center – Gold Card

Depending on your age and USC service, you may be eligible for some programs with the USC Emeriti Center, or the USC Gold Card program.

Health insurance plan information

You may be eligible to continue your health benefits and those of your dependents for 18 months from the date of your termination. This continuation is via the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act also known as COBRA, or the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).

COBRA gives workers who lose their health benefits (and their families) the right to continue group health benefits for limited periods under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events.

For information about your COBRA rates, please contact the HR Service Center by calling 213-821-8100 or emailing uschr@usc.edu.

If you elect COBRA, you will be charged for the full premium cost plus a 2% administrative fee. The university will not contribute toward the cost. More information on COBRA is available by contacting the HR Service Center. Note that any employee wellness discounts (like the health assessment credit or the no-smoking credit) will no longer apply to your premium.

If COBRA is not a viable option, you can visit www.healthcare.gov or call (800) 318-2596 to review ACA options, 24/7.

IMPORTANT: If you elect COBRA but subsequently determine that coverage through an ACA marketplace plan is a better choice, you will not be able to enroll in an ACA marketplace plan if you voluntarily cancel COBRA. You must wait until you either exhaust your COBRA coverage (18 or 36 months) or until the next marketplace open enrollment period, whichever comes first – unless you are still within 60 days of having lost your employer group coverage.

WageWorks, USC’s COBRA administrator, will send a COBRA election packet to your home. You must return the required paperwork postmarked within 60 days of the date of that mailing, or your termination date, whichever is later — if you fail to do so, you forfeit the COBRA opportunity. The fastest way to ensure that your COBRA coverage is activated is to use WageWorks’ online enrollment process. You can elect COBRA and set up payment at mybenefits.wageworks.com.

For questions regarding your COBRA account contact WageWorks at (888) 678-4881.

To obtain COBRA coverage, you must pay the full premium plus a 2% administrative fee. (HMO participants who fully exhaust their initial 18 months of COBRA coverage may be eligible for an additional 18 months under Cal COBRA AB1401.)

Note that while by law you have 60 days to elect COBRA, your coverage will not be activated until your COBRA election is actually made and the premium payment has been applied/clearedUNTIL THEN YOU ARE NOT COVERED. Once you have elected and paid, your COBRA coverage will be activated back to the original effective date, which is the first of the following month after your active employee coverage ended.

If you are over 65 you still qualify for COBRA but it is recommended that you decline COBRA and go directly onto Medicare. Medicare has specific enrollment deadlines which if missed result in lifetime penalties. However, your spouse (if not Medicare-eligible) and other dependents may be eligible for COBRA. Note that if you elect COBRA coverage, you cannot switch to an ACA marketplace policy until COBRA coverage is exhausted or the next ACA marketplace open

Insurance (MetLife)

Coverage ends on the last day of the month in which you terminate, provided premiums have been paid. MetLife will automatically contact you and provide information regarding the continuation options available (conversion and portability). Premiums may be higher than those paid by active employees.

USC Retirement Plan

Your contribution to the USC Retirement Savings Program will be taken from your final paycheck and the university’s matching contribution will be made. Supplemental contributions are not taken automatically; contact Benefits before your final check is prepared for a calculation of how much, if any, you are eligible to contribute. Contact your investment company regarding options and repayment of any outstanding loans.

Keck Medicine of USC 401(k) Retirement Plan

Your contribution to the Keck 401(k) plan will be taken from your final paycheck. Contact Fidelity at (800) 343-0860 regarding your options and repayment of any outstanding loans.

Non-exempt staff retirement plan

The freezing of this plan on July 1, 2007 has no effect on terminating employees. If you terminated employment after June 30, 2007 and the present actuarial value of your benefit is less than $5,000 when you terminate employment, you will need to take action regarding your benefit. You may either receive a lump sum payment (as taxable income with a possible early distribution penalty of 10%) or rollover the benefit to an IRA or your new employer’s retirement plan.

If you do not take action regarding your benefit, we will cash out your money to you if the value is $1,000 or less. If the value is $1,001 to $5,000, we will rollover your money into an IRA. If the value is more than $5,000, you cannot receive payment or rollover the benefit. Your retirement benefit will be available to you upon retirement as early as age 55, although a reduction in the monthly amount will apply until age 65, when full benefit is available.

Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Your credit card is deactivated at the time of termination. Health care expenses submitted for reimbursement must be incurred while a plan participant prior to your termination.  You have until the end of the month in which you separate service to incur services by paying out of pocket and submitting a claim to Wageworks/Health Equity.  

Services after your separation may be claimed if you elect COBRA continuation of your health care FSA on an after-tax basis (if eligible). You have till March 31st to submit claims for services rendered from the prior year. Any unclaimed expenses are forfeited.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DFSA)

You may submit claims for eligible dependent care services incurred through the end of the calendar year in which you terminate. You will be reimbursed up to the amount remaining in your account. You have till March 31st to submit claims for services rendered from the prior year. Any unclaimed expenses are forfeited.

For MetLife Legal Plans (formerly Hyatt Legal), you must enroll for “portable enrollment” within 30 days of your last day of employment. Call (800) 821-6400 to apply. Enrollment is prepaid by lump sum, equal to 12x the plan’s monthly rate, and will remain effective for 12 months (no refunds allowed). Plan details remain the same as those for active employees. Visit legalplans.com to review.

Tuition Assistance/Tuition Exchange

If you leave during a semester, you will receive a prorated fee bill and are responsible for paying the cost of tuition for the remainder of the semester, unless you are laid off. 

  • Employees who are laid off while enrolled in the benefit, for themselves or dependents, may continue to use the tuition assistance benefit until the end of the academic year in which they are enrolled, after which the benefit will cease. 
  • Use of the benefit under these circumstances may have tax implications; seek tax professional advice is recommended 

Employees hired prior to July 1, 2011 who have accrued 15 years of eligible service before termination should contact the HR Service Center by calling 213-821-8100 or emailing uschr@usc.edu to discuss possible dependent eligibility for tuition assistance.

Child care

The university subsidy for USC Child Care Programs ends on the last day of the month in which you terminate. If possible, 30 days’ notice should be provided to your child care administrative office. Call (213) 743-2446 at UPC or (323) 442-3333 at HSC for more information.


Contact Transportation at (213) 740-3575 at UPC or (323) 442-1201 at HSC to cancel your parking deduction. In order to cancel your parking permit, you need to return the permit to the Transportation office.

Vacation pay

Discuss unused vacation days with your manager. You will receive a check for any unused vacation days.

Payroll deductions

arrangements to continue payments after termination for deductions such as: USC Credit Union loans; School of Dentistry payment plans; Fidelity or Vanguard retirement loans; and ticket office purchases.

Contributions for all current benefits will be deducted from your paycheck as well as USC Retirement Plan, or your contribution to the hospital 401(k). In addition, other deductions such as parking citations, charges on your USCard and University Club card, wage assignments, applicable taxable tuition assistance benefits, etc. will be deducted automatically from your final paycheck.

Severance pay

Only staff employees who have been terminated due to layoff or reorganization are eligible for severance pay. Excluded are: those who were employed for a specific period of time only (e.g., in positions offered in writing as fixed-term or funded by contracts and grants where an end date was communicated); faculty; those claiming student status (including teaching and research assistants); and staff who have resigned, been terminated for cause, have retired, or who have abandoned their jobs. Staff employees who receive additional pay or benefits beyond that allowed by university policy will be required to enter into a Settlement Agreement and General Release with the university.

University property

Identify university property and keys in your possession. For assistance with checkout procedures in your department, consult your manager or department administrator. You may turn in your USCard to your department or to USCard Services.

Workday profile

As a former USC employee, you have access to your Workday profile until June 30 of the calendar year after the year of termination. Below is the link and username/password combination to access:

URL: wd5.myworkday.com/usc/d/home.htmld?redirect=n
Username:  7-digit Employee ID
Password: Usc$Trojan[last four of SSN]

To further our commitment towards the safe use of applications and to safeguard data, USC uses multi-factor authentication (MFA) for contingent workers – which are defined as consultants, affiliates, and temporary employees – logging into Workday. In addition to requesting your username and password, Workday will require you to provide a code to log in.

  • The primary method to generate this code will be to download and use the Microsoft Authenticator app on your phone. 
  • The secondary method will be to have a temporary code sent to your email on file with USC. 

Please review the Workday direct login using multi-factor authentication (MFA) Quick Reference Guide (QRG) for detailed instructions on the process. 

If you have been previously provided credentials to log in and are now having issues due to MFA, or no longer remember your password, contact the USC Customer Support Center for assistance at 213-764-4952 or consult@usc.edu

Final paycheck

Please work with your departmental payroll representative to make arrangements for delivery of your final paycheck (direct deposit or check). Click here for instructions detailing how to find your departmental payroll representative(s).

Change of address

You may update your address at any time by email to the HR Service Center at uschr@usc.edu or to Payroll at payroll@usc.edu.


Unemployment insurance is a state benefit that provides weekly unemployment payments to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

To apply for unemployment benefits, you must fulfill all three of these requirements:

  • Be unemployed or working less than full-time;
  • Be ready and looking for work; and
  • Have worked in the last 18 months.

To file a claim, visit the state Employment Development Department (EDD) site. All questions should be directed to EDD at (800) 300-5616.

The address to use for “last employer information” is:

University of Southern California
3720 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0704
(213) 821-8100