Gov. McAuliffe orders benefits for newly married LGBT state employees
As same-sex couples across the state start turning long-term relationships into freshly married unions, access to benefits for state employees and their new spouses has already opened up.
“The decision has opened new doors to my administration’s guiding principle of equality,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe In a statement sent out yesterday. McAuliffe echoed a sentiment he’s stressed whenever marriage equality is brought up to him: it’s key to keeping Virginia open for business.
“An open and welcoming environment is imperative to grow as a Commonwealth, and to build a new Virginia economy that will attract vital businesses, innovative entrepreneurs, and thriving families.”
“On issues ranging from recognizing same-sex marriages to extending health care benefits to same-sex spouses of state employees,” said McAuliffe. ”State government is already well-prepared to implement this landmark decision.”
As for specifics about state employee’s new spouses getting access to benefits, a statement was sent out by the Virginia Department of Human Resources management answering a few questions:
Virginia now legally recognizes same-sex marriages. Employees who become legally married must submit their health benefits enrollment request to enroll or add their spouse and other eligible dependents within 60 days of the marriage. Eligible employees whose same-sex marriage occurred prior to October 6, 2014, have untilThursday, December 4, 2014, to submit their enrollment request.
You must submit your enrollment request and all required documentation to your Benefits Administrator. See the required dependent eligibility documentation here.
Coverage based on this qualifying mid-year event will be effective the first of the month following submission of your enrollment request. If your enrollment request is received on the first day of the month, your coverage is effective that day. If you miss this enrollment window, you must wait until the next Open Enrollment or another qualifying mid-year event which will allow you to add eligible family members.
There are still a number of issues same-sex couples face here in Virginia – adoption laws, employment protections, etc. – but at least this hurdle has been cleared.
“My administration will act quickly to continue to bring all of our policies and practices into compliance so that we can give married same-sex couples the full array of benefits they deserve,” said McAuliffe.
A full report on the success of this transition is expected on the Governor’s desk by Nov. 15h.
Top image via ColorfulRVA.
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