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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


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