Federal Retirement Plan Revises Rules to Include Same-Sex Marriages

Amy Walters/Shutterstock.com

The board that administers the Thrift Savings Plan is changing its rules on spousal rights to include gay federal employees wed in states recognizing same-sex marriages.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board will determine a TSP enrollee’s marital status based on where the marriage took place or the “jurisdiction of celebration” to ensure same-sex marriages are included for benefits purposes. The interim final rule takes effect on Friday.

The Supreme Court in June declared unconstitutional Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The ruling has led agencies including the FRTIB and the Office of Personnel Management to revise regulations on benefits.

While the high court required the TSP board to defer to state law in determining the marital status of TSP participants, the current language in Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations directs the TSP board to use the laws in the enrollee’s state of residence to determine marital status for the purposes of distributing death benefits. Conflicting state laws will hinder the board’s ability to administer the TSP “solely in the interest of its participants and beneficiaries,” according to the notice in the Federal Register, since many states still do not recognize same-sex marriage.

That’s why the TSP board has decided to revise the rule to use the “jurisdiction of celebration” criterion. “The current choice-of-law is detrimental to a population of TSP participants and does not serve to defray expenses of administering the Thrift Savings Fund,” the interim rule said.

The board will accept comments on the interim final rule until Oct. 20.

(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.