Feature stories

Union Proud: Your benefits

You can click on the headlines in the tree below to learn more about each benefit that you have as a UFT member.


Using its strength in numbers, the UFT has negotiated comprehensive health benefits that are valuable — and increasingly rare — in today’s economy. Thanks to the union, members also can look forward to a secure retirement, have opportunities for professional growth and can get help when they are struggling or in crisis.

Professional learning opportunities

  • LearnUFT provides state-approved, affordable professional development designed to meet the needs of UFT members. LearnUFT keeps a record of the 100 CTLE hours that many paras and teachers are required to collect every five years.
  • The UFT Teacher Center promotes teacher excellence and student achievement with work sessions and citywide conferences as well as Teacher Centers embedded in 105 schools throughout the city. In collaboration with the UFT Member Assistance Program, the UFT Teacher Center also offers workshops for new teachers.
  • The Peer Intervention Program is a voluntary, confidential program that provides assistance for tenured teachers who are feeling overwhelmed about classroom issues.

Health coverage, no premium

  • The majority of UFT members have enrolled in one of two health insurance options with no monthly premium, a true rarity these days. Members also have a choice of multiple city health plans.
  • The health plans have reasonable co-pays and a large number of participating providers in the New York City region.
  • MSK Direct gives members and their family access to a dedicated team of cancer specialists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a top hospital for cancer care.

Affordable prescription drugs

  • Affordable co-pays for generic and preferred brand-name drugs on the union’s formulary.
  • Once your family reaches its $1,000 yearly annual maximum for out-of-pocket costs for drugs that are generic or preferred brands, these medications are free for the rest of the year.
  • An extensive formulary that covers many new and cutting-edge drugs.

Quality dental care at low cost

  • A dental plan with a large number of participating providers. Your choice of in-network providers (free cleanings every three months, low-cost procedures) or out-of-network providers (you pay the difference between the plan’s allowance and your dentist’s charges).

NYSUT and AFT member benefits

  • Access to many insurance plans at a discounted group rate, including auto, home, life, disability, legal plan and pet insurance. Visit memberbenefits.nysut.org and www.aft.org/member-benefits for more information.

Support in difficult moments

  • The UFT’s Member Assistance Program provides short-term, confidential counseling and outside referrals to help with substance abuse, trauma, bereavement, domestic violence and many other issues.
  • The UFT’s Victim Support Program provides psychological support and practical assistance for members who are victims of workplace violence. It also offers on-site counseling to school communities after a crisis occurs.
  • The Health and Cancer Helpline provides free, confidential assistance for members affected by medical and behavioral health illnesses, and guides callers to resources, support groups and health care professionals.

Income, health care if disabled

  • Certain job titles have access to one year of health benefit coverage when out on a medically approved leave of absence.
  • Disability income for up to a maximum of 52 weeks (subject to medical approval) at $475/week for pedagogues and $375/week for paraprofessionals.

Optical and hearing aid benefits

  • An optical benefit that provides free eyeglasses or contact lenses to you and your dependents once every two years, if you choose a basic frame and use one of the 1,500 participating providers, plus a free basic eye exam with participating providers.
  • A benefit of $1,000 to cover the cost of a hearing aid once every three years.

A defined-benefit pension and more

  • Guaranteed monthly payments from the day you retire for the rest of your life, once you have vested in the pension system.
  • Free employer-sponsored health benefits for the rest of your life when you meet the required number of years in service.
  • If you die while in service, your beneficiaries receive up to three years of salary. The biggest payout goes to the beneficiaries of the youngest in-service members.
  • Free pension clinics, tax-deferred annuity workshops and pension consultations for members.
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