The Supreme Court victory in United States v. Windsor striking down the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) affirms that all loving and committed couples who are married deserve equal legal respect and treatment from the federal government. The demise of DOMA marks a turning point in how the United States government treats the relationships of married same-sex couples for federal programs that are linked to being married.
See Further Guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The OPM has issued guidance on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protections for same-sex spouses. The Office of Government Ethics has issued guidance for federal employees with same-sex spouses, OGE, LA-13-10: "Effect of the Supreme Court’s Decision in United States v. Windsor on the Executive Branch Ethics Program."
On September 17, 2013, the Department of Health & Human Services issued SHO # 13-006, guidance for State Health Officials and Medicaid Directors on implications of the Windsor ruling for Medicaid and the Children's Health Program (CHIP).
On September 23, 2013, the IRS issued Notice 2013-61, providing guidance for employers and employees to claim refunds or adjust overpayments of FICA taxes and employment taxes with respect to certain benefits and remunerations provided to same-sex spouses.
In March 2014, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance for same-sex spouses seeking or receiving Medicare. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which coordinates Medicare enrollment with CMS, will now process some applications for premium-free Medicare Part A based on a spouse’s work history.
The Supreme Court’s historic ruling striking down Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is an enormous victory for loving, married couples and their families, and affirms that they deserve equal treatment under the law. Read the introductory FAQ.
Most employees in the United States see a “FICA” deduction — reducing their take-home pay — on every paycheck. FICA stands for the Federal Insurance Contribution Act. Those deductions are what employees pay into the federal Social Security system to fund benefits not only for retirement, but also for when a spouse dies or becomes disabled. The principal goal of these benefits is to provide a safety net, similar to life insurance.
1. Marriage Helps Couples Keep Their Commitments
Marriage provides protections for couples who have made a lifelong commitment to take care of and be responsible for each other. Keeping those commitments is harder when couples are barred from marriage, especially in tough times, because they may be denied the right to: