F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the PSA?

Q: What is a Postdoctoral Scholar?

Q: What are the different types of Postdoctoral Scholars?

Q: For how long can one be appointed as a postdoc at UCSF?

Q: I’m new to UCSF. How can I get involved in postdoc issues and events?

Q: What is the PSA listserv? How do I join the PSA listserv?

Q: Where can I read more about the University’s guidelines regarding postdocs?

Q: Are postdocs considered students or employees of the University?

Q: How do I submit applications to the UCSF Contracts and Grants Department?

Q: How and when do I obtain a US Social Security Number?

Q: Do I have to pay taxes if I am a postdoc? If so, how do I claim taxes for stipend income?

Q: What health, dental, vision and other benefits are offered to UCSF postdocs

Q: Is the PSA a Union?

Q: How is the PSA funded?

Q: What is the PSA?

The Postdoctoral Scholars Association (PSA) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is a cornerstone of postdoc life on campus and is one of the largest and most active postdoctoral associations in the United States. The PSA at UCSF was established in 1995 by about a dozen postdocs who published a survey on postdoctoral training and secured funding for an educational seminar series. Currently, the PSA is led by over 25 highly motivated postdoctoral scholars who volunteer their time and energy to improve the postdoctoral experience university-wide. The association promotes networking, educational, and career development activities for postdocs, as well as appointing individual postdocs to serve on several campus committees and councils. The PSA also implements various ideas and recommendations emanating from the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).

Q: What is a Postdoctoral Scholar?

A Postdoctoral Scholar is a person with a doctoral degree (e.g. Ph.D., M.D., or the foreign equivalent) assigned to a temporary appointment at a university or institution who is receiving full-time advanced academic and research training. A Postdoctoral Scholar trains under the direction and supervision of faculty mentors in preparation for academic or research careers. In addition to research, Postdoctoral Scholars may also engage in other activities to enhance teaching and professional skills.

Q: What are the different types of Postdoctoral Scholars?

1.Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee

The agency funding the postdoc&s salary requires or permits the postdoc to be an employee of the University, or when University funds are used to support the position.

2. Postdoctoral Scholar – Fellow

The postdoc has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship by an extramural agency and the fellowship or traineeship is paid through a University account.

3. Postdoctoral Scholar – Paid Direct

The postdoc has been awarded a fellowship or traineeship by an extramural agency and the agency pays the fellowship or traineeship directly to the postdoc.

Q: For how long can one be appointed as a postdoc at UCSF?

Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are temporary with fixed end dates, but are renewable up to a maximum of five years, including time in postdoctoral status at other institutions (typically, the appointment is made for one year at a time, but may be made for up to three years at a time). Exceptions may be granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies (the Chancellor’s designee) for a sixth year as a Postdoctoral Scholar. Examples of when such exceptions might be made are when Postdoctoral Scholars are changing fields or when they have had a reduced postdoctoral workload due to childbearing, childrearing, or health conditions. After the five or six-year period, and if the postdoc needs to complete work at UCSF, s/he must be hired into appropriate academic or staff research titles in accordance with campus policies. It is also important to note that reappointment at the end of the appointment period is at the sole discretion of the PI.

Q: Im new to UCSF. How can I get involved in postdoc issues and events?

Come to Postdoctoral Scholars Association (PSA) meetings! The PSA holds monthly meetings. Its a great way to meet fellow postdocs and become informed about issues and events important to postdocs. The PSA would love your help and input to continue addressing the needs and concerns of postdocs at UCSF!

Q: What is the PSA listserv? How do I join the PSA listserv?

The PSA listserv is an e-mail information exchange, where postdocs let each other knock about issues of interest or events that are coming up (like PSA meetings and PSA sponsored activities). To join the listserv, follow this link

Q:Where can I read more about the University’s guidelines regarding postdocs?

The Academic Personnel Manual (APM) 390 includes policies and procedures pertaining to the employment relationship between an academic appointee and the University of California. The APM 390 applies specifically to the postdoctoral scholar. For more information, please go to: http://postdocs.ucsf.edu/postdocs

Q:Are postdocs considered students or employees of the University?

Postdocs are employees, not students, but in some circumstances postdocs can receive a student discount on University services.

Q: How do I submit applications to the UCSF Contracts and Grants Department?

UCSF Contracts & Grants reviews all grant applications submitted by postdocs. You must submit all required copies of your application and the Contracts & Grants Approval Form (with another complete copy of your application) to Contracts & Grants at least four working days in advance of the deadline. Generally, the Contracts & Grants office will require 10-14 days to process your grant. For more information on applying for postdoctoral grants, please contact the Contracts & Grants office at (415) 476-2977 or visit their Web site: http://www.research.ucsf.edu

Please review your funding application well in advance of the deadline. If the application requires that the University submit it on your behalf, please ask if your PI can submit it. If you don’t have a PI, or if your PI cannot submit the application on your behalf, please contact Kalai Diamond for assistance at 415-502-9500 or kalai.diamond@ucsf.edu.

Q: How and when do I obtain a US Social Security Number?

Most foreign postdocs are on “Category J-1 Exchange Visitors” visas.

All US citizens are assigned a social security number (SSN). It is required to apply for credit cards, driver’s license and bank accounts. All postdocs must obtain a SSN if they are paying income taxes. It takes two weeks to process an application at the social security office once they have received all of the necessary paperwork. To obtain a SSN, you must go to a Social Security Administration Office and present evidence of age, identity, lawful alien status, and work authorization. Acceptable evidence of age, identity and lawful alien status is:

1. Passport

2. Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record (confirms alien status)

3. DS-2019 (formerly IAP-66) Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status

Evidence of employment authorization is determined by DS-2019. A valid DS-2019 form authorizes the holder to work if one of the following categories is listed: trainee, teacher, professor, research scholar or specialist or medical trainee. Exchange visitors with “student” or “international visitor” are presumed not to have work authorization and must also present a sponsor’s letter authorizing employment.

J-2 Visa Holder (J-2 dependent of the J-1 Exchange Visitor):

Go first to the DMV and take the written exam for driver’s license (tell them you will have an SSN for the road test). Then go with your passport and the DMV paperwork to the Social Security Office to obtain an SSN without work authorization.

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES NEAR UCSF:
For more information about U.S. Social Security Numbers,
call (800) 772-1213 or go to: http://www.ssa.gov

1098 Valencia St (at 22nd St.)
(415) 556-4043
Hours: 9:00am- 4:30pm Mon-Fri

1569 Sloat Boulevard (at Clearfield)
Suite 300, 2nd Floor of Lakeshore Plaza Shopping Center
(800) 772-1213
Hours: 9:00am- 4:30pm Mon-Fri

939 Market Street (between Mason and Taylor)
(415) 744-5760
Hours: 9:00am- 4:30pm Mon-Fri

BE SURE TO GIVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO YOUR DEPARTMENT POSTDOC ADMINISTRATOR AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE IT.

For additional information, contact:
UCSF Services to International Students & Scholars (SISS)
Provides advising and advocacy services to international postdoc scholars regarding visas and other employment issues

SISS
Box 0477, Room S-04
University of California- San Francisco
Phone: (415) 476-1773
Fax: (415) 476-8119
http://student.ucsf.edu/siss/

Q: Do I have to pay taxes if I am a postdoc? If so, how do I claim taxes for stipend income?

All income from postdoctoral appointments is subject to state and

federal tax. Taxes are withheld from “Postdoctoral Scholar – Employee” salaries (payroll appointments). For California residents, US citizens, or permanent residents, no taxes are withheld from traineeships or fellowships. For foreign scholars, federal taxes are withheld unless there is a tax treaty between the US and the scholar’s country. For scholars who are not California residents but who are US citizens or permanent residents, federal taxes are not withheld, but state tax is withheld if the recipient receives more than $9,000 in funds in a calendar year. For tax withholding, individuals are considered California residents if they will reside in California 12 months or more. The University no longer reports scholarship and fellowship grant payments on IRS Form 1099 Misc. If postdocs are unsure of the amount of stipend received in a given year, they may call the Stipend Desk in Accounting, 476-2881 or send a written request via campus mail to the Accounting Office – Stipend Desk, Box 0812. Fellows and trainees should consult the IRS or a tax adviser concerning payment of estimated quarterly taxes.

For information about reporting taxes for stipend income for US citizens and permanent residents, dowload:

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p520.pdf

For Nonresident Aliens the website below may be of help to you:

http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/cao/paycoord/taxation.html

For additional info, contact:

Freddie Mae Robinson
UCSF Office of Student Financial Services
Student Accounts
Box 0812
Phone: 415-476-2881
Fax: 415-502-8201

Q:What health, dental, vision and other benefits are offered to UCSF postdocs?

The University of California Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Plan (PSBP) is a comprehensive program that offers you the plans, some of which give you the choice between an HMO or PPO model:

Medical: Health Net HMO or PPO
Dental: Health Net DHMO or Principal PPO
Health Net Vision PPO
Life, AD&D and Short-Term Disability Insurance offered through Standard Insurance (you will be automatically enrolled in these plans)
Voluntary Long-Term Disability Insurance offered through Standard Insurance

The medical evacuation and repatriation requirements necessary for Postdocs holding J-1 Visa status, and their dependents holding J-2 Visa status, are automatically covered through the Standard Life Insurance program. There is no need to purchase supplemental coverage for these requirements. For detailed information go to:

http://www.garnett-powers.com/postdoc/ucsf/index.htm

If you have questions, contact the UCSF Human Resource Coordinator for Postdoc Benefits:

Tony Wagner at anthony.wagner@ucsf.edu or (415)476-8093

Q: Is the PSA a Union?

The PSA is not affiliated with the UCSF Postdoc Union. The PSA does not receive Union dues. The PSA does not take a position on Union issues. The University helped create the PSA in 1995 as a way to empower postdocs to fully participate in the campus community. Since its inception, donations by UCSF departments allow the PSA to organize scientific seminars, mentoring events and social activities to build the postdoc community. The PSA is also an avenue for interested postdocs to participate in University affairs by sitting on campus committees.

Q: How is the PSA funded?

The PSA is completely funded by the generous support of UCSF departments and donations from private companies.

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