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Know Your Benefits

Eyeglasses and contact lenses

New York Teacher

As a member of the UFT Welfare Fund, you and your eligible dependents can obtain optical services once every two years. Your optical benefits entitle you to one pair of eyeglasses and an accompanying eye exam, or to contact lenses. Prescription sunglasses are also covered.

To receive reimbursement for both your eye exam and your eyeglasses, you need to obtain both services at the same time and location. Therefore, we recommend that you hold off getting your eye exam until you have found eyeglasses you want to buy. Separate claims cannot be filed for an eye exam and glasses within a two-year period.

Step 1: Check your eligibility

You can check your eligibility at any time on the website of the UFT Welfare Fund’s claims processor, General Vision Services. You will be asked for identifying information, such as your UFT ID number or the last five digits of your Social Security number. The site also features a searchable database of participating providers. For assistance, you can call the GVS dedicated phone line for UFT members at 212-729-5395.

Step 2: Access your optical benefits

If you are eligible for the optical benefit, you can make an appointment or walk in to a participating provider (for in-network coverage) or a nonparticipating provider of your choice (for out-of-network coverage).

An additional way to access your benefits is by downloading the GVS app, which is available in the app store (iOS or Android only). There you can find a listing of in-network providers, preview your benefits and access a virtual ID card.

In-network benefits

If you are using a participating provider, there are no claim forms to file. You are covered for the benefits described above and in the chart at right.

Out-of-network benefits

You may obtain services from the provider of your choice outside the preferred vision provider network, though your out-of-pocket expense may be higher as a result.

When you go outside the network, you are responsible for paying for the services provided, and then you must submit a claim for out-of-network services (including your prescription and your paid, itemized receipt) at the GVS website, via the GVS app or by mail. On the website or app, you must fill out the required fields and upload supporting documents. For paper claim submissions, call GVS’s dedicated phone line at 212-729-5395 for further guidance.

For out-of-network services, you will receive reimbursement of up to $175 in total (included in that amount is a maximum of $20 for an eye exam).

Although GVS is your main point of contact for optical benefits, feel free to contact the UFT Welfare Fund at 212-539-0500 if you have any questions or concerns.


In-network optical benefits (every 24 months)
Benefits Copay
Eye Examination1
Exam (Includes Tonometry, Retinoscopy and Refraction) Covered in full
Dilation2 $30
Basic Frame (Minimum $100 retail value) Covered in full
Upgraded Frame Discount 10% off retail price
Frame Allowance $100 discount
Benefit Credit Up to $175
Spectacle Lenses
Single Vision Covered in full
Bifocal Covered in full
Trifocal Covered in full
Upgraded Lenses 10% off retail price
Plastic Covered in full
Polycarbonate $35
Scratch Resistant $20
Standard Anti-Reflective (glare-free) $30
Ultraviolet Block $15
Tinting less than 40% $15
Tinting greater than 40% Covered in full
Photochromic $50
Contact Lenses3 (In lieu of eyeglasses)
Contact lenses $175 allowance

1 For locations outside New York, a copay for an eye exam may apply. Any additional services that surpass the benefit are the responsibility of the patient.
2 When professionally recommended.
3 Colored contacts are not included.

Related Topics: Health Benefits