Since the implementation of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA), state law defines the spouse and marriage might not be recognized through your employee benefit documentation. On the other hand, federal laws, including the Employment Retiree Income Security Act (ERISA), does not exclude any employer from positively creating plan documents to distinguish same-sex spouses for their benefits.
Over the last few decades, employers could provide equal compensation to same-sex partners through an alternative domestic benefit program. This has forced companies to create an additional amendment to the plan to include the additional spouse as an qualified dependent.
What About my Employee Benefits?
For the most part they are mostly covered; retirement plans obtainable by private employers are covered under ERISA.
The DOL (Department Of Labor) has also in the past announced that same-sex spouses should be allowed leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in spite of whether their current residential state recognizes their marriages.
While this new direction will encompass the large preponderance of Americans’ retirement plans, owners that aren’t covered under ERISA, as well as some tactics served by state and local government entities, including churches, may still prevent policy owners from including their same-sex spouses.
Don’t Feel Alone, You have help!
The call is FREE to learn more about working with the right ERISA attorneys in you area. Don’t go with your gut, go with the right ERISA attorney at your side! If you have questions about adding your same-sex spouse to your retirement plan, contact your experienced ERISA attorneys today for a consultation.