Married LGBT Federal Retirees Need to Act

federal-retirementDominoes continue to fall as a result of last week’s Supreme Court ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, with one of the latest being a memo from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that has great relevance to federal retirees who have a legal marriage.

The 6/28/2013 memo, available at, is entitled, “Guidance on the Extension of Benefits to Married Gay and Lesbian Federal Employees, Annuitants, and Their Families.”

Of critical importance are the following two deadlines.

Annuitants (and employees) have only until August 26, 2013, to add their spouses to their health insurance under the FEHB program.  (Other additions can be made during annual Open Seasons.)

Annuitants have until June 26, 2015 to inform the Office of Personnel Management “that they have a legal marriage that now qualifies for recognition and elect any changes to their retirement benefits based on their recognized marital status.”  OPM will be issuing further guidance to help retirees figure out if this change makes financial sense for their situation, since providing benefits to a surviving spouse “will likely result in a deduction to the monthly annuity that the retiree currently receives.”

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