Same Sex Domestic Partners and Civil Unions: Same sex domestic partners and eligible dependent children of the domestic partner had been eligible for coverage under the State’s pension and health benefit plan. This benefit was awarded to couples by an arbitrator, however the arbitrator’s award terminates same-sex partners’ eligibility for domestic partner benefits as of the date same sex couples become eligible to marry in Connecticut. The award also holds that domestic partners and eligible dependent children of the domestic partner on the State’s pension and health benefit plan will have these benefits cease one year after same sex marriages are allowed by the State of Connecticut.
As of November 12, 2008, same sex partners have gained the right to obtain marriage licenses in Connecticut. Accordingly, under the terms of the arbitrator’s award, and effective November 13, 2008, the State will no longer recognize “new” domestic partnerships for benefit purposes. For those individuals currently in a domestic partnership relationship, the health (including medical, prescription and dental) and pension benefits (including pre-retirement benefits and spousal waivers) currently provided to partners and the eligible dependents of the domestic partner will end effective November 30, 2009 unless the partners marry or enter into a civil union prior to this date. For partners who do not marry, enrolled domestic partners and their dependent children will be allowed to continue their benefits through COBRA after November 30, 2009.
For current employees with a domestic partner enrolled in health insurance who marry or enter into a civil union by November 13, 2009, the employee or retiree will be given thirty days from that date to obtain medical and dental coverage for his or spouse or civil union partner and eligible dependent children. If they fail to complete this within the thirty day period, the employee or retiree will have to wait until the annual open enrollment period, which normally takes place in June.
With regard to retirement and pension benefits, for current employees with a domestic partner who marry or enter into a civil union by November 13, 2009, the employee should complete a form to entitle the civil union partner or spouse to pre-retirement death benefits (where applicable) and survivorship protections. For current domestic partners who do not marry or enter into a civil union by November 13, 2009, the domestic partner can remain the employee’s beneficiary for retirement purposes but the domestic partner will not be treated by the Division as a spouse for purposes of pension benefits at the time of the employee’s retirement.
For more information, please visit the State Comptrollers website.