In the wake of the historic Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, federal employees who are legally married to partners of the same sex can add their spouses to their federal benefits.
The Supreme Court’s June 26 decision ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman, was unconstitutional. The American Federation of Government Employees was among many organizations fighting for this victory, recognizing that many of our brothers and sisters in the federal government have been discriminated against for no other reason than their sexual orientation.
The Office of Personnel Management has created a special open season for affected employees to make changes to their existing benefits. The open season runs from June 26 to Aug. 26.
During this time, federal employees can add their same-sex spouses and children of same-sex spouses to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI), the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP), the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP), and Federal Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAFEDS).
A detailed explanation of these changes can be found in OPM’s Benefits Administration Letter. Here is a link to the letter: http://afgeunionblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/opm-7-3-2013-doma-benefits-admin-letter-13-203.pdf.
If employees miss the Aug. 26 deadline, they will need to wait until the annual open season in November to amend their benefits.