Federal Retirement Plan Looks Into Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

DOMA had defined marriage as between a man and a woman, preventing federal employees from sharing their benefits with their same-sex spouses. DOMA had defined marriage as between a man and a woman, preventing federal employees from sharing their benefits with their same-sex spouses. Amy Walters/Shutterstock.com

The Thrift Savings Plan may have to adjust some of its regulations after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last week.

Federal employees can designate anyone as a beneficiary of the retirement investment plan, a TSP spokeswoman told The Washington Post, but the court’s decision changes the procedure when a deceased employee has not named a beneficiary.

DOMA had defined marriage as between a man and a woman, preventing federal employees from sharing their benefits with their same-sex spouses. With the law struck down, however, the TSP must revisit its policies.

“We are reviewing our regulations and processes to determine what needs to be changed in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Kim Weaver said in a statement to The Post. “We will comply as quickly as we can, but we do not have a timeframe for how fast that will be.”

The Office of Personnel Management issued preliminary guidance last week, giving same-sex couples immediate access to federal benefits such as health care, dental and vision insurance, life insurance, retirement pensions and flexible spending accounts. The TSP falls outside of OPM’s purview, however, and the plan’s governing agency -- the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board -- must conduct its own review.

When a TSP participant dies, the participant’s spouse can keep the plan open, while any other beneficiary must withdraw or transfer the accumulated funds. While the beneficiary issue is at the forefront of TSP’s DOMA-related adjustments, the retirement program may have to adapt other rules as well.

“The review we are undertaking is intended to determine what other regulations need to be changed,” Weaver told Government Executive.

(Image via Amy Walters/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.