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Frequently Asked Questions Benefits for LGBT Federal Employees and Annuitants

A federal employee is going to retire in the next couple of years. The employee has a partner and wants to know if the employee and partner should marry before the employee retires in order for the partner to be eligible for medical and other spousal benefits after the employee retires.

Same-sex couples who are in a civil union or other forms of domestic partnership other than marriage are ineligible for most benefits. There are two big exceptions. 

The Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) allows those individuals who satisfy the same-sex domestic partnership standard to be treated as qualifying relatives for Federal employees and annuitants. 

Also, employees may elect at retirement an insurable interest annuity for anyone, including domestic partners or partners to a civil union, as long as the retiree can show he/she is in good health and the person designated for this benefit can show that he/she has an insurable interest in the continued life of the employee. An insurable interest annuity is a different survivor benefit from a spousal survivor annuity benefit, so be aware that an insurable interest annuity provides a different level of benefits than a survivor annuity for a legal spouse.

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