The Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June 2013. That means married same-sex couples now qualify for the 1100+ federal benefits that were previously denied to them.
We can’t go through them all, so here are my 10 best federal benefits for married same-sex couples:
- Same-sex couples can utilize all the Social Security strategies and benefits offered to married couples. Most of you may not fully understand what this means, but believe me when I say “this is a very big deal."
- A surviving spouse will continue receiving benefits from their deceased spouse’s pension. This is for all pensions that have a survivor benefit: military, federal, state, county and private-sector companies.
- IRA and Roth IRA contributions can be made for a non-working spouse.
- A joint federal tax return can be filed for a couple rather than submitting two individual tax returns.
- A surviving spouse will not have to immediately begin withdrawing from a deceased spouse’s retirement accounts creating unnecessary taxable income.
- No more paying taxes on the value of employer provided health insurance for an employee’s spouse.
- A surviving spouse will no longer have to worry about paying estate taxes due to the unlimited marital deduction (this is what the Supreme Court case was about).
- A spouse now qualifies for the Family Medical Leave Act allowing them to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their for their sick or disabled spouse.
- Property transferred between spouses because of divorce is no longer subject to income or gift tax. And alimony is now deductible for the person making the payments.
- Retirement accounts accumulated during a marriage can be divided at divorce. This protects a non-working spouse if they are a stay-at-home parent and the marriage ends in divorce.