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Benefits And Protections For Civilian Federal Employees And Their Spouses (POC Rule)


The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has extended health insurance, life insurance, dental and vision insurance, long-term care insurance, retirement and flexible spending accounts to all same-sex spouses of federal employees and annuitants, regardless of where the couple lives.  Retirees will have 2 years to elect changes to benefits based on now-recognized marital status.

OPM provided notice of a 2-year opportunity for annuitants who are legally married to a same-sex spouse to elect survivor annuities for their spouses regardless of where the couple lives.  OPM has begun the process of working with surviving spouses of federal employees and annuitants who died prior to the Windsor decision to ensure these widows and widowers receive the benefits to which they would have been entilted had DOMA not been in effect.

OPM issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding FMLA coverage of same-sex spouses.  The proposed rule would state that the term "spouse" in OPM's FMLA regulation is defined as a partner in any legally recognized marriage, regardless of the federal employee's state of residence.  OPM previously issued a memorandum directing that "spouse," as used in OPM's current regulation, includes same-sex spouses regardless of the federal employee's state of residence.  The guidance is effective as of June 26, 2013, and permits employees who took other leave to care for a same-sex spouse between June 26, 2013 and the date of the guidance to re-designate such time as FMLA leave..

Employees and annuitants in same-sex domestic partnerships who would marry but live in states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry may enroll the child of their same-sex domestic partner as a stepchild under FEHB and FEDVIP effective January 4, 2014.

Health care benefits are available to same-sex spouses of Tribal employees who participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program regardless of where the couple lives.

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has issued guidance that ethical obligations such as financial disclosure and conflict of interest requirements will now apply to all legally married same-sex couples regardless of where the couple lives.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) issued an interim final rule that it will use the “Place Of Celebration (POC)” to determine whether a participant is married.