On Jun. 26, 2013, the Supreme Court DOMA Decision Rules Federal Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional. Based on this ruling, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was the first agency to begin revamping its health insurance enrollment policy - allowing legally-married same-sex spouses (married before Jun. 26) to enroll in a spouse’s existing health insurance plan as a family members; from Jun. 26 – Aug. 26, 2013. If you missed this occasion, the 2013 Open Season for 2014 Health Insurance Coverage begins Monday, Nov. 11 – Dec. 9, 2013. However, if you miss this opportunity – you’ll have to wait until November 2014, unless you were married after an official Open Season Enrollment period. Additional benefits available to same-sex spouses can be viewed at: OPM.gov.
For the record it should be noted: The prerequisite that initiated OPM and military officials to consider policy changes - derived from a June 2009 presidential request that heads of executive departments and agencies work together to identify federal and military benefits that could be immediately extended to same-sex domestic partners without legislative actions. On Jun. 2, 2010, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary released a detailed report identifying appropriate benefits for federal employee same-sex partners. Although, the Pentagon recently authorized military ID cards for same-sex spouses and the right to visit sick and injured members while hospitalized, DOMA has prevented the DoD from granting same-sex military families the full range of benefits provided to heterosexual married couples. However, this occurrence should not be surprising to military service members.
An article published by theguardian.com states, “Same-sex spouses in the military will receive full benefits despite federal law; resulting in the Justice being tapped by the White House to ensure that couples in same-sex marriages receive all federal benefits to which they are entitled. The Social Security Administration says it has started processing spousal retirement claims for same-sex couples and paying benefits.”
It is imperative that federal and military (legally-married) same-sex couples be vigilant to ensure they’re receiving all entitlements in accordance with this Supreme Court ruling, especially military benefits. Further, don’t forget to update/submit beneficiary designation, joint ownership and annuity documents.