Same-Sex Spousal Benefits
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court issued a historic decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section 3 of DOMA was found to be unconstitutional and struck down. Find out more at OPM.gov.
As a result, legal same-sex marriages will now be treated in the same manner as opposite-sex marriages regarding federal employee benefits. Including options to:
- Enroll or make changes to your benefits during the annual open season or if you experience a qualifying life event.
- Provide your spouse and/or qualifying children with Social Security survivor benefits.
- Provide your spouse with a survivor annuity at the time of retirement.
- Become a leave recipient of the NIH Leave Bank or Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) to care for a spouse experiencing a qualifying medical emergency.
Family and Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) definition of a spouse covers a partner in any legally recognized marriage. You are entitled to use FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse with a serious health condition. For additional information, see OPM’s FMLA Fact Sheet.
Same-sex and opposite-sex couples who are in a civil union or other forms of domestic partnership other than a legal marriage will remain ineligible for most Federal benefits programs.
Benefits available to care for a domestic partner or available to domestic partners of federal employees include:
- Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP): Can be used to care for qualifying family members who experience a medical emergency, including domestic partners
- NIH Leave Bank: If you enroll as a member, program benefits can be used to care for qualifying family members who experience a medical emergency, including domestic partners
- Long-Term Care Insurance: Can be treated as a qualifying relative to apply for coverage.
- Designated beneficiary: You can designate your same-sex domestic partner as a beneficiary for your benefits.