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Domestic partners and benefits eligibility

Maryland recognizes both same-sex marriage and same-sex partnerships as valid, legal relationships. Spouses and partners of state employees have been eligible under state law to receive benefits as dependents of their state employee spouses/partners. For people who entered into same-sex marriages in other states where the marriages are also recognized as legally valid, Maryland recognizes those marriages as well, making their dependent spouses/partners equally able to access state benefits.

The State of Maryland Employee Benefit Program began authorizing coverage for same-sex spouses and domestic partners of state employees in 2009. Employees and their spouses/partners who are at least 18 years old, of the same sex, not related and have been in the committed relationship for at least 12 months are eligible.

Domestic partners must complete an affidavit of domestic partnership and submit documentation showing financial interdependence and cohabitation, such as joint bank account statements, mortgages or deeds with both partners listed. To receive certain tax benefits by showing the partner is a dependent for tax purposes, employees can also submit a tax affidavit along with the rest of the required documentation.

Same-sex couples and same-sex spouses who have questions about eligibility for benefits through a spouse's or partner's employer may be able to learn more by speaking with a family law attorney who practices in same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships. With news last year reporting that Maryland's governor was moving to end domestic partnership benefits, understanding the law is important to domestic partner dependents. As laws change frequently, attorneys may be able to assist their clients with learning the latest legal impacts on benefits eligibility.Secondary Source: The National Review, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/347316/maryland-end-domestic-partnership-benefits-after-legalizing-same-sex-marriage, Published May 3, 2013.

Source: Department of Budget and Mangement, "Same sex domestic partner and same sex spouse FAQ's", September 30, 2014

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