Guide to Optical Benefits
As a member of the UFT Welfare Fund, you and your covered dependents are entitled to an eye exam plus eyeglasses or contact lenses once every two years. As of Feb. 1, 2021, you no longer need to request an optical certificate to obtain benefits.
You can check your eligibility for benefits in one of three easy ways:
- Visit www.gvsuft.com 24/7. You will be asked for identifying information, such as your UFT ID number or part of your Social Security number.
- Download the GVS app (on iOS or Android). From the app or the website, you can find an in-network provider, preview your benefits and access a virtual ID card.
- Call GVS's dedicated phone line for UFT members at 212-729-5395.
See more plan details and check your eligibility
If you are eligible for the optical benefit, you can make an appointment or walk in to a participating vision store (for in-network coverage) or a nonparticipating vision store of your choice (for out-of-network coverage).
You can view and download our optical brochure for more program details.
For more information on the optical benefit, please select one of the following topics:
Frequently Asked Questions
The benefit includes a complete pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses and, if necessary, a basic eye exam.
First, you need to confirm your eligibility for benefits, then (if eligible) obtain services from a provider. You and your covered family members are entitled to an eye exam, and eyeglasses or contact lenses once every two years.
You can check your eligibility in one of three easy ways:
(1) Visit www.gvsuft.com;
(2) Check via the GVS app; or
(3) Call the UFT-dedicated concierge line at GVS at (212) 729-5395.
If you are eligible for the optical benefit, you can make an appointment or walk in to a participating vision store (for in-network coverage) or use a nonparticipating vision provider of your choice (for out-of-network coverage). Participating providers can be found on the GVS website.
Yes, however it is to your advantage to use a participating provider. First, you can take advantage of additional discounts our panelists provide. Second, if you have a problem, the UFT Welfare Fund will help resolve any issues.
If you use a non-participating provider, you are required to first pay the full cost of the service and request reimbursement of $175, or the actual charge, whichever is less. You can submit a paid, itemized receipt and a copy of your prescription electronically via the GVS website or the GVS app. Alternatively, paper claims can be mailed to GVS.
We suggest that you use your optical benefits only for full services, which include glasses or contacts along with an eye exam. If you use your benefits and only get the exam we will pay $20 toward an exam fee, but you will be deemed to have used the entire benefit amount and will not be eligible for another optical benefit for two years. Instead, if you pay for your exam directly and save the benefit, you can use it when you are ready to purchase your frames or lenses.
Members and their spouse/ domestic partner who are also members are entitled to special coordination of benefits (SCOB). This entitles each eligible family member, upon request at the same time for two (2) covered services, one (1) service under each member's benefit record, whether using a participating provider or the direct reimbursement method. In either event, reimbursement to the provider or the member may not exceed the actual charge for the optical service under SCOB.