FAQ for Research Assistants

Last updated 6/6/2022

Obtaining a Social Security Number

Step 1 - Log in to AccessVis, http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/visa/
      Go to the drop-down link for F-1 Student Services
      Select SSN Authorization Request – Go here for more info:
Step 2 – Request an original signed Social Security employment letter from the CS department. Send requests to Susan@cs.stonybrook.edu.
Step 3 – Upload the letter to AccessVis. Note that the Employer is: Department of Computer Science and the supervisor is the professor you are working with.
Step 4 – When the Vis Office finalizes your request, they will send you instructions.

Yes, SUNY RF requires employees to have an SSN.

If timing is critical, HR may be able to issue a temp RF-ID so that the student can work.

Health Insurance

When the enrollment form is sent to you in Docusign, check the box on the insurance enrollment form declining insurance.

No. TAs and RAs are offered two different health insurances, so each time a grad switches between the two and wants to switch coverage, they will also need to complete a new enrollment insurance form.

Contact HR Benefits at hrs_benefits@stonybrook.edu with health insurance questions.

For new students appointed as an RA for the first time, health insurance enrollment is not automatic. You need to complete the enrollment form in Docusign. For information regarding RPA health insurance information, click here https://www.stonybrook.edu/hr/benefits/rf/student.shtml

Your health insurance starts the first date of your appointment as an RA. Health insurance ends 28 days after the last date of your appointment. Login to Docusign and view your appointment information to see your start and end dates. Any other questions can be emailed at HRS_benefits@stonybrook.edu

You do not need to enroll in the UMR health insurance since you have already completed the paperwork to continue your health insurance under NYSHIP for the summer.  If you did not want to move forward and enroll in UMR, it will take 6 to 8 weeks for you to receive reimbursement of the money paid for the summer continuation. Because payroll is processed 2 weeks in advance, you will continue to receive the deductions for NYSHIP summer continuation coverage. 

You will also pre-pay for the 28 days of continuous coverage for UMR and have a double deduction taken from your RF paycheck.  You will also need to re-apply for TA/GA coverage in the fall by completing a new enrollment form and submitting your proof documents.  

It should be removed in about a month after your appointment is finalized, but if there is an issue you will need to take a printout of your DocuSign appointment to the Bursar's or Registrar's office to prove that you are employed here and they can remove the fee.


We most likely have not received a student appointment request from your professor. Contact your professor.

Here is the website where you can go to check the status of your paycheck:

Login to Docusign. Has your appointment been completed – signed by everyone including HR? If it is pending HR’s approval do you need to go there and show your ID?

Be sure that you have set up Direct Deposit and that your mailing address is correct in Solar and in SUNY RF self-service.

General Questions

Since you have to sign the appointment forms in Docusign, you can log in to Docusign at any time to check the status of your appointment forms. Additionally, when all forms are signed and the package is completed, you will get an automatic email that says “All signers complete.”

Weeks before the semester starts, speak to your advisor or professor you work with and ask if you are going to be appointed as an RA for the next semester.

Appointments are done using Docusign which requires that you sign the electronic paperwork asap when you receive an email.

If you have never worked before as an RA or if you have not shown your ID to HR in a year or more, you are required to show HR Form I9 acceptable documents (eg passport) (https://www.uscis.gov/i-9). IMPORTANT: You cannot start work nor will your appointment be complete until you do this.

Mandatory Orientation - You are required to complete the RPA campus orientation.

Social Security Number - If you do not have a Social Security Number, you will be required to obtain one within 30 days of your hire date.

You can find your RFID number on your Solar timesheet.

You may find it by entering your SSN here:
○ This site will also tell you the date of your appt and paycheck.
If you still can’t find it, stop in HR to ask. Room 390 in Admin.

The Grad School applies tuition waivers to student accounts.

After your appointment is finalized by HR, you will be in the "parking permit" system and can use a Faculty/Staff permit for parking.

Here is a schedule of RF SUNY orientation dates: https://www.stonybrook.edu/human-resources/new/

The department orientation for RA's takes place in Aug/Sept. You will receive an email with further information. 

Log into SOLAR (https://it.stonybrook.edu/services/solar), choose "RF Employee Time Reporting" and report absences ONLY.  This should be done on the first of each month for the previous month that you are employed.


Required Training

Students being appointed to a research project are required by the university and the federal
government to complete the online training courses noted below.

Go to http://myresearch.stonybrook.edu/
Click Login under COI
Sign in with your NetID and password
Go to COI - select "update disclosures." For the reason, put "Annual Disclosure."
Select Edit Disclosure; then continue through the screens

CITI login: https://www.citiprogram.org/?pageID=668
CITI Information: http://research.stonybrook.edu/training-0#citi-training
Log in through my institution - using your netID and password
Select Add a Course
Select I want to complete the Conflict of Interest Course and complete it.

CITI login: https://www.citiprogram.org/?pageID=668
CITI Information: http://research.stonybrook.edu/training-0#citi-training
Log in through my institution - using your netID and password
Select Add a Course
Select I want to complete the Conflict of Interest Course and complete it.

Travel and Reimbursement

All travel reimbursements (RF/SBF/state) must be submitted through the Concur travel system.

The Concur Travel System can quickly and efficiently submit your travel pre-approval request.  Instructions can be found here: https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/travel-and-expense/_pdf/Sign%20On%20To%20Concur.pdf

To use Concur you will need: 

  1. Your 9-digit SBU ID No. 
  2. Your Net ID and Net ID password 
  3. To know the funding source (RF or State) and budget account number you will be traveling on

Sign onto www.concursolutions.com using your 9-digit SBU ID No. followed by “@stonybrook.edu” (#########@stonybrook.edu).

For pre-approval requirements:

  • For State-Funded Travel and Non-Sponsored Research Travel: All domestic and international travel requires pre-approval, which can be requested through the Concur system. 
  • For Sponsored Research Travel: No pre-approval is required for domestic travel. International travel requires pre-approval by utilizing the Electronic Foreign Travel Request portal (eFTR). 

For assistance, please contact the Travel & Expense Team: sbu_travel_expense@stonybrook.edu.

Please contact eventsandexpenses@cs.stonybrook.edu with any reimbursement questions or requests.

Please refer to the google form for required reimbursement information:


Please contact eventsandexpenses@cs.stonybrook.edu for any events, meeting, or conference support.

If I have read this entire document and I still have questions, contact:

Department related questions: Susan@cs.stonybrook.edu
Benefits - hrs_benefits@stonybrook.edu 2-6180
RF Appointments: RF_appointments@stonybrook.edu 2-6162
Paycheck Questions: RF_payroll@stonybrook.edu