Separation

Upon separation from County employment, there are several benefit options still available to you after employment. Even though the County will no longer contribute to the cost of benefits, you will have access to some benefits such as medical and dental insurance under the federal Cobra continuation provisions. In order to continue a benefit, you must already be enrolled as an active employee. You may not enroll for a new benefit after your employment ends.

To find out what your current employee benefits include, check the County's Employee Self-Service website at https://essplus.co.santa-barbara.ca.us/ .This website will be available to you for one year after you separate. If you still receive paper copies of your Earnings Statement, you will find your health plans listed there, in addition to any deductions for voluntary coverage you have elected. The earnings statement, however, does not list the County-provided life and LTD insurance program coverage.

Your options at separation include the following:

  • Unemployment Insurance Benefits – Regardless of how long you have worked for Santa Barbara County, you could apply for unemployment insurance benefits with the State of California. Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance is determined by the State of California Employment Development Department. Your benefit will be based on your highest quarterly earnings during a one-year look back period. You can find more information about how your benefit amount is calculated and how to file a claim on the California Employment Development Department website at edd.ca.gov / or by calling the EDD representative at 1-800-480-3287.
  • Health Insurance - Your medical, dental, and vision coverage will end on the last calendar day of the month in which your separation from employment occurs. Once your last payroll is processed, the County's COBRA administrator, Benefits Coordinators Corporation (BCC), will send you an election notice detailing your rights to re-enroll with no lapse in coverage and no pre-existing conditions and what your premium cost will be. Once you receive the election notice, you have 60 days to enroll. Please be aware that there is a time lag between the time you separate employment and when you receive your enrollment notice, but that your coverage will always start retroactively to the first of the month following your separation date. For more information, contact BCC, the County's COBRA administrator at 1-800-685-6100.
    • Post-Tax Health Premiums - Once your employment with Santa Barbara County ends and you elect COBRA continuation coverage of your health benefits, you will pay your premiums directly to BCC, our COBRA administrator, on a post-tax basis.
    • After the 18 months of federal COBRA coverage has expired, you are permitted an additional 18 months under of Extended COBRA, allowing 36 months of COBRA coverage.
    • Your spouse and dependent children are eligible for 36 months of initial coverage under federal law. There is no California state extension of this coverage. They have the option to enroll separately from your coverage. BCC can answer any questions you may have about your COBRA coverage.
    • Domestic partners do not have federal or state COBRA rights to continue health insurance coverage unless they otherwise meet the qualifications of a dependent.
  • Employee Assistance Program & CareCounsel Healthcare Assistance Services – You can continue your EAP coverage under your COBRA coverage described above. You will be billed for this service by BCC. If you choose to enroll you will be able to contact Empathia EAP at 1-800-367-7474, Company code COSB.
  • County-Provided Life Insurance Plan – all employees are covered by a County-provided term life insurance plan. Most employees have a $20,000 policy with assistant department heads and department heads at $30,000 and $50,000 coverage respectively. You may continue this policy as a whole life policy through VOYA ReliaStar Life Insurance Company. If you are interested in converting this policy, please contact Employee Benefits at 1-805-568-2803 or 1-805-568-2818. Please note that you have 31 days from the last day of the month in which you separated to convert this policy.
  • County-Provided Long Term Disability Coverage (LTD) – You may continue this plan after you separate through VOYA ReliaStar Life Insurance Company. If you are interested in converting this policy, please contact Employee Benefits at 1-805-568-2803 or 1-805-568-2818. Please note, this benefit is not offered to employees who terminate as Retirees or have been employed less than 1 year. The insurance company must receive your written application and payment of the required premium within 31 days from the date of separation.
  • VOYA Optional Term Life Insurance Plan – If you currently have this term life insurance for you (and your spouse & children), you may continue it at the same premium and benefits through the portability feature. This plan is provided through VOYA ReliaStar Life Insurance Company. If you are interested in converting this policy, please contact Employee Benefits at 1-805-568-2803 or 1-805-568-2818. If you have any questions, you may call VOYA Customer Service at 1-800-955-7736. Please note that you have 31 days from the last day of the month in which you separated to convert this policy.
  • VOYA Compass Critical Illness Insurance – If you currently have this insurance for you (and your spouse & children), you may continue it through the portability feature. This plan is provided through VOYA ReliaStar Life Insurance Company. If you are interested in converting this policy, please contact Employee Benefits at 1-805-568-2803 or 1-805-568-2818. If you have any questions, you may call VOYA Customer Service at 1-800-955-7736. The insurance company must receive your written application and payment of the required premium within 31 days from the date of separation.
  • VOYA Compass Accident Insurance – If you currently have this insurance for you (and your spouse & children), you may continue it at the same premium and benefits through the portability feature. This plan is provided through VOYA ReliaStar Life Insurance Company. If you are interested in converting this policy, please contact Employee Benefits at 1-805-568-2803 or 1-805-568-2818. If you have any questions, you may call VOYA Customer Service at 1-800-955-7736. The insurance company must receive your written application and payment of the required premium within 31 days from the date of separation.
  • VOYA Personal Accident Insurance – You may convert your VOYA policy to a private policy at different rates, after employment, and if you are under the age of 80. For more information, please call 1-800-421-3005 (9am - 5pm EST) and ask to speak to Elisa Pietanza at extension 320 about converting your County of Santa Barbara PAI policy, to a private policy The insurance company must receive your written application and payment of the required premium within 31 days from the date of separation. No evidence of insurability is required to obtain the conversion policy. The maximum conversion amount is $500,000 and the least amount is $100,000.
  • Manhattan Life Insurance (previously HUMANA) – If you currenly have this insurance for you (and your spouse and children), you can continue this benefit through the portability feature. This plan is provided by Manhattan Life. For information on how to continue with this policy, you may contact Manhattan Life Customer Care at 1-855-448-6982.
  • Flexible Benefits - You can find the flexible benefit options that you are enrolled in and are eligible to continue at the Auditor's ESS website. https://essplus.co.santa-barbara.ca.us/ You will have access to this site for one year after separation.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) – Healthcare
    • If you have a balance in your Healthcare FSA you will be offered COBRA Healthcare FSA. If you elect COBRA Healthcare FSA you may continue to file for claim reimbursement up to the end of the calendar year (December 31st) for services rendered during that year. When you elect COBRA Healthcare FSA you have to continue to contribute the same amount to your FSA account that you were contributing prior to your separation. Please note that your card will be terminated on your separation date.
    • If you do not elect COBRA FSA you will have 90 days following your date of separation to file claim reimbursement for services or products obtained prior to your date of separation. Any services rendered after your date of separation will not be reimbursed.
    • BCC at www.benxcel.net will continue to handle all claims processed for your spending accounts. For any questions about reimbursement from your accounts, call BCC at 1-800-685-6100. Any funds not reimbursed by the above date will be forfeited and used for program administration.
    • >FSA – Dependent Care Spending Account – You may not continue participation in this account but can file for reimbursement of your remaining funds for services obtained prior to your separation date. BCC will also handle this for you.
    • Health Care Spending Account (HSA) - Under the COBRA legislation, you have the right to continue to participate in this account after you separate employment however, all contributions to your account will be on an after-tax basis. This may be useful if you still have a balance in your account and will need these funds for future health services. Please contact Sterling HSA at 1-800-617-4729 for information.
  • County Retirement Plan – Depending on your age and length of service, you may be eligible to apply for a retirement or defer your retirement until a later date. Contact your Retirement Representative for further information. Employees planning to retire should apply for a service retirement up to 60 days prior to the date they plan to retire. Your representative is assigned by the first letter of your last name or your work location. To contact your Retirement Representative, see the guide below:

    SBCERS Benefits Team email: benefits@sbcers.org

    California residents with zip code 93200 & lower , plus residents of Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez & Solvang

    SBCERS Santa Barbara Office877-568-2940
    3916 State Street, Suite 100
    Santa Barbara, CA 93105
    Fax 805-560-1086

    • A-K Retirees: Barbara Gordon805-568-2942
    • L-Z Retirees: Rebekah Bardakos805-568-2940

    California residents with zip code higher than 93200, excluding residents of Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang, plus Non-California Residents

    SBCERS Santa Maria Office805-739-8686
    2400 Professional Parkway, Suite 150
    Santa Maria, CA 93455
    Fax 805-739-8689

    • A-K Retirees: Jenny Labastida805-739-8668
    • L-Z Retirees: Scott Dunlap805-739-8667
  • Deferred Compensation – If you have a deferred compensation account, contact EMPOWER Retirement Services about your distribution options by calling 1-800-382-8924 or 1-800-701-8255
  • Vacation Balance – If eligible, your unused vacation balance will be cashed out and added to your final paycheck.
  • Holiday Leave Balance – If eligible, your remaining holiday balance will be cashed out and added to your final paycheck.
  • Overtime - Your remaining overtime balance will be cashed out and added to your final paycheck.
  • Sick Leave – There is no cash out of sick leave; however, if you are eligible to retire from the County you can convert up to one year of sick leave into retirement service credit.
  • Credit Union – You may continue to use the credit union without any change in services. The Santa Barbara County Federal Credit Union is located at 2623 De La Vina Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105 and their phone number is (805) 682-3357.

If you have any questions about these or any of the employee benefit programs, please call Human Resources Employee Benefit's & Wellness at (805) 568-2803 or 568-2800.