Effective January 1, 2008, House Bill 2007 requires PERS to provide benefits to a registered domestic partner to the same extent that a spouse would be entitled to PERS benefits under the plan unless it would conflict with the plan’s federal tax qualification. Registered domestic partners should complete PERS forms as a “spouse” wherever that’s indicated and are considered “married” whenever spousal consent is required.
Registered domestic partners will be required to provide the necessary paperwork to establish their status, just as PERS requires of married couples. For example, in the event of a member’s death, a registered domestic partner must submit the Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership to apply for PERS benefits as that member’s spouse or, in the event a registered domestic partnership is dissolved, a certified copy of a Judgment of Dissolution of Domestic Partnership must by received by PERS and approved as administrable before an alternate payee award can be established.
There are several exceptions when tax qualification requirements mean that PERS will provide benefits to registered domestic partners differently than spouses:
If you choose Option 2 or Option 2A with a registered domestic partner as your beneficiary and the registered partner is more than 10 years younger, the benefit paid will be adjusted.
- If you choose Option 2A or Option 3A with a registered partner as the beneficiary, and later legally dissolve the domestic partnership, your benefit will not increase. If you named your registered partner as your beneficiary, your benefit will only increase if your registered partner dies before you.
- You can only obtain PERS health insurance for your registered domestic partner if he or she is also your dependent for federal income tax purposes.
- If your death benefit distribution is eligible to be rolled over, your registered domestic partner may be able to roll over only to a particular IRA. Please see the note below about consulting a qualified tax professional for more information.
Federal income tax law may apply differently to a registered domestic partner who receives any PERS benefit. Please consult with a qualified tax professional if you have questions about the federal income tax aspects of a PERS benefit.