News & Analysis as of

What's New Under the Defense of Marriage Act?

A major reason that employee benefits, such as employer- provided healthcare and retirement plans, exist is that they provide a tax-advantaged way for an employer to provide additional compensation to an employee, her spouse,...more

IRS Issues Guidance on Qualified Plan Amendments Regarding Same Sex Spouses

Employers have been considering the impact on benefit programs, including the qualified retirement plans, of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision recognizing the validity of same sex marriages. In September, 2013, the IRS issued...more

Exclusion of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses Did Not Interfere with Protected Rights under ERISA

In Roe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, a federal district court addressed the issue of whether a self-funded health plan could include language that denied dependent coverage to same-sex spouses without violating Section...more

Despite Windsor, Federal Court Rejects Challenge to a Self-Insured ERISA Health Plan’s Denial of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Windsor, the requirement that an ERISA health plan provide health coverage for same-sex spouses has often hinged on whether an employee benefit plan was insured or...more

U.S. Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban in Pennsylvania

Today, a U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania nullified Pennsylvania’s Marriage Laws, holding that they violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If the ruling stands...more

Federal Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Earlier today, Harrisburg-based Federal District Court Judge John E. Jones, III, struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. In this landmark ruling, Jones concluded that "same-sex couples who seek to marry in...more

ERISA: Self-Funded Benefit Plans May Not Have To Cover Same-Sex Spouses?

You already know that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited recognition of same-sex marriages, was declared unconstitutional. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013)....more

Whitewood v. Wolf: Navigating the Sea of Change for Marriage Equality

It has been a momentous year for marriage equality in our country. The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark June 2013 decisions overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and upholding the ruling on Proposition 8’s unconstitutionality...more

Welfare Benefit Plan Might Not Be Required To Cover Same Sex Spouses

Much has been written about the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision last term declaring unconstitutional the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that required federal law not to recognize same sex marriages....more

How The Windsor Decision Applies To Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service recently furnished employers with welcome guidance concerning coverage of same-sex spouses in qualified plans. In a new Notice, the Service discusses how qualified arrangements such as...more

New IRS Guidance Establishes When Retirement Plans Must Be Amended To Provide Retirement Benefit Rights To Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor on June 26, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) stated that qualified retirement plans (e.g., profit-sharing, 401(k), pension plans, etc.) must...more

New IRS Rules on Same Sex Marriages and How the Rules Affect Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

In the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor (Windsor), the Court held that, for federal purposes, Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Although the dispute in the Windsor...more

Is It Time To Review, Retest, Or Amend Your Employee Benefit Plans? IRS Provides Same Sex Marriage Guidance For Retirement Plan...

On June 26, 2013, when the Supreme Court determined that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, the tax and benefit plan implications were unclear. Later, in Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the...more

Retirement Plan Amendment Requirements Post-Windsor

The recent release of Notice 2014-19 and IRS FAQs provide some initial pieces of the guidance that the IRS first promised in September 2013 regarding administrator obligations when amending employee benefit plans to account...more

IRS Releases Guidance on Application of Windsor to Retirement Plans

Last week, the IRS released Notice 2014-19, which provides guidance on the application to retirement plans of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act...more

Filling In The Retirement Plan Gaps For Same-Sex Couples—What It Means For Your Retirement Plan

Employers and participants alike have been anxiously waiting for further guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on how marriages of same-sex couples will be treated for purposes of qualified retirement plans....more

IRS Issues Guidance on Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage Under Tax-Qualified Retirement Plans

On April 4, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2014-19 providing guidance on the application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor (“Windsor”) to tax-qualified retirement plans (such...more

IRS Releases Guidance for Effective Date of Same-Sex Spousal Retirement Rights

Plan sponsors now know how and by when retirement plans must comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor. The IRS has released its long-awaited guidance on the effective date by which qualified retirement...more

IRS Issues Additional Guidance On The Treatment Of Same-Sex Spouses For Retirement Plan Purposes

IRS Notice 2014-19 provides long-awaited guidance on the application of the decision in United States v. Windsor to retirement plans qualified under Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) Section 401(a). For tax-qualification...more

Post-DOMA, IRS and CMS issue further guidance regarding same-sex spouses

Last September, three months after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in United States v. Windsor, the IRS issued some much-anticipated guidance regarding the treatment of same-sex spouses. For employers who...more

IRS Guidance on Treatment of Same-Sex Marriages by Qualified Retirement Plans

On April 4, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released Notice 2014-19 (the “Notice”), which provides additional guidance on how qualified retirement plans should treat same-sex marriages following the Supreme Court’s...more

HHS Extends Medicare Coverage to Same-Sex Couples

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) announced last week that same-sex married couples can now qualify for Medicare Part A and Part B special enrollment periods and reductions in late enrollment penalties....more

IRS Issues Rules for Recognizing Same-Sex Spouses under Retirement Plans

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2014-19, which sets forth the rules for recognition of same-sex spouses in retirement plan administration, as required under the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in U.S. vs....more

Hot Employment Topics For 2014 Part II: After The Defense Of Marriage Act? Implications For Employee Benefits

This is the second of a seven-part series describing "Hot Employment Topics for 2014." Part II focuses upon "The Aftermath of the Demise of the Defense of Marriage Act." The United States Supreme Court in 2013 struck...more

2013 Employment Law Growing Pains

Every year there are developments in employment law that challenge accepted norms of practice and require creative workable solutions. In particular 2013 had several areas that caused some of these “growing pains,” including...more

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