Dependent Eligibility Verification

Dependent eligibility verification helps us ensure that Penn’s benefits plans are there for the people who need them: our faculty and staff and their eligible dependents.

The Dependent Verification Requirement

Penn requires faculty and staff to provide eligibility verification for all newly enrolled dependents, as well as for re-enrolled dependents who were previously removed from coverage.

This requirement is part of an important initiative to ensure legal compliance and good governance, and helps the University control healthcare costs. The University also has certain fiduciary duties under both federal law and our own Principles of Responsible Conduct. Verifying dependent eligibility is one of the best ways for us to way to meet these responsibilities.


Contact the Benefits Solution Center


Eligible Dependents

Eligible dependents include but are not limited to:

  • Your spouse  
  • Children (biological, adopted, and stepchildren) up to the end of the month in which they turn 26.
  • Children (biological, adopted, and stepchildren) age 26 or older who are incapable of self-support due to a mental or physical condition that existed prior to age 26 and has been certified by your insurance carrier.

Enrollment Verification

Faculty and staff can enroll or re-enroll eligible dependents for healthcare benefits:

During new employee enrollment

During Open Enrollment

Following a qualifying life event change (family or employment status)

When you sign up for dependent coverage, you’ll receive a letter from the Penn Benefits Center asking you to provide documentation verifying the dependent’s eligibility. The letter will describe how and when to submit the documentation.

Proof of eligibility for dependents is required only when they are newly enrolled, unless you remove them at some point and want to re-enroll, in which case they are subject to the same verification process as new dependents.

If you can’t produce verifying documentation when requested, unverified dependents may be removed from your coverage.

Verification Documents

This table lists the documents that will be accepted as proof of eligibility for dependents. For each kind of dependent, there is type of documentation that is preferred; please make every effort to submit it. When that is not feasible, however, we will accept the alternate documentation.

Please do not submit original documents. They will not be returned.

If you're covering a child over the age of 26 who is disabled, you must also provide documentation certifying the disability to your medical insurance carrier.

Dependent Type

Preferred Documentation

Alternate Documentation


Marriage Certificate1

Your most recent tax return, redacted2


Current visa documentation3


Birth child up to age 26

Birth Certificate1

Your most recent tax return, redacted6


Current visa documentation3

Adopted child up to age 26

Adoption Certificate1

Your most recent tax return, redacted6


Current visa documentation3

Child up to age 26 for whom you are the legal guardian

Proof of legal guardianship7

Your most recent tax return, redacted6


Current visa documentation3

1Or equivalent from a foreign country in the case of foreign nationals.

2Filing status must be married, filing jointly or separately. (“Redacted” means financial information and Social Security Numbers are blacked out.)

3For foreign nationals.

4Including appropriate documentation as indicated on the affidavit.

5Common-law marriage is governed by state law. These states recognize common-law marriage currently or before a certain date. The University recognizes common-law marriages established in states that recognize it, or that were established prior to the date it was abolished:



Georgia (prior to 1/1/97)

Idaho (prior to 1/1/96)




New Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only)

Ohio (prior to 10/10/91)

Oklahoma (prior to 11/1/98)

Pennsylvania (prior to 9/13/03)

Rhode Island

South Carolina



Washington, D.C.

6Your child must be listed as a dependent. (“Redacted” means that financial information and Social Security numbers are blacked out.)

7The most common way to establish legal guardianship is through a court order. If you have proof of your status as a legal guardian other than a court order, it will be reviewed on an individual basis.