Benefits News

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September 13, 2013


The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled on August 29, 2013 that same-sex couples who are legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether or not the couple lives in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.

Any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory or a foreign country is covered by the ruling. However, the ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized under state law. Please visit for Frequently Asked Questions that may help you understand the implications for same sex couples that are legally married.

This ruling may have implications for your Emory benefits. Emory has offered, and will continue to offer, benefits coverage for Same Sex Domestic Partners (SSDPs), however the benefit provided to the partner is taxable to the employee. With this new ruling, same sex married couples will receive the same pre-tax benefit as opposite sex married couples. This applies to medical, dental and vision benefits where you cover your spouse and/or your spouse's children.  

Future rulings by the IRS could have implications for other benefits such as retirement plans as it relates to spousal notification. Emory will continue to keep you informed of other potential implications to your benefits as new rulings are published.

ARROW  What you need to do

If you are legally married, a change must be made to change the relationships on your employee record to "spouse" or "child" so that your spouse and/or dependents will qualify for the pre-tax benefits. If you and your spouse have different last names, you must scan and e-mail or fax a copy of your marriage certificate to the Benefits Department. If you have the same last name, a marriage certificate is not required.

Please complete this form and return it to the Benefits Department so that we can make the appropriate change to your benefits for the balance of 2013. Once we receive your response, we will process your benefits change for your spouse and/or spouse's children the next payroll processing date. A response by September 30 will ensure your annual enrollment information will be correct. Respond via email or by fax: (404-727-7145). If faxing, the form must be signed.

If you are not legally married you do not need to take action.