Maryland Adds Same-Gender Spouses to Benefits Program

May 20, 2010 ( – State of Maryland officials have announced that same-sex spouses of employees who possess a valid marriage certificate from another state will be included as eligible employee dependents under the Employee and Retiree Health and Welfare Benefits Program.

The official announcement of the change, posted to the Web site of the state’s Department of Management and Budget, said those individuals who already have a valid marriage certificate from a jurisdiction that authorizes such unions, can fill out an enrollment form to cover the spouse for a July 1, 2010 effective date.

According to the announcement, verification documentation will be collected via the post-Open Enrollment Dependent Verification Process and will include a copy of the marriage certificate along with the newly developed Spouse Tax Affidavit that will be used to determine if coverage for the spouse is subject to imputed income.  All covered spouses will have to complete the tax document, officials said.

Same-sex spouses with a valid marriage certificate will not berequired to complete the Domestic Partner Affidavit nor will they be required to submit proof of common residence and financial interdependency.

Following Open Enrollment, as individuals marry their same sex partners, they can add the spouse under the usual qualified family status change process (i.e. submit the enrollment form, spouse tax affidavit and valid marriage certificate within 60 days of the marriage), the state officials said.

For a same-sex spouse to be entitled to federal pre-tax/tax-free benefits coverage as a dependent, the individual must meet the following requirements: 

  • The individual does not meet the “qualifying child” tests in relation to the employee/retiree or anyone else;
  • The individual must live with the employee/retiree all year as a member of the employee’s/retiree’s household (and the relationship must not violate local law); and
  • The employee/retiree must provide more than half of the individual’s support for the year. 

The announcement cautioned that initial benefit statements will reflect a same-sex spouse as a domestic partner because state computer systems need to be updated to properly reflect the person as a spouse.

The Department of Management and Budget is the administrator of the state employee benefits program.