On a national level, same-sex marriage could soon be recognized by the United States government. This means that federal benefits for married gay couples will be the same as heterosexual married couples. What sort of federal benefits? Social security benefits, VA benefits, military benefits, IRS tax situations.
• Married partners would be able to take advantage of widow/widowers benefits.
• Spousal “claim and suspend” options allowing for a higher payout would be available.
• Spousal “claim now, claim more later” benefits would be available.
• All of the same benefits as heterosexual couples. Health, pension, living abroad with spouse, access to commissaries, visitation in military hospitals.
IRS tax benefits
• File as married
• Estate transfers from one spouse to another upon death are tax free.
• Upon death, transfers of retirement money (IRA’s) are tax free.
• Joint home ownership will not be looked at as a possible gifting situation per the tax code.
But what about the state of Florida? Same-sex marriage isn’t recognized here.
True. But you can get married in another state and be recognized for benefits on the federal level. On a state level, we still have issues. DOMA disappearing will not help anyone who lives in Florida and is receiving state benefits. Anyone who receives benefits from a municipality will not be able to automatically add their spouse. If you are a married police officer and want to put your spouse on your pension, you are out of luck. Same with health benefits, etc. (unless your particular municipality offers the benefit). It’s just not a given.
If DOMA falls, then eventually all of the states will follow and will have to accept same-sex marriage. It’s inevitable and just a matter time, just like how interracial marriage legality came about.
My advice if DOMA goes down? Plan a trip to marry your sweetie. It will protect both of you and reap great financial benefits in the future.
These are some of the sweeping changes that will be available to the LGBT community. More will follow!
Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial, the largest independent broker/dealer in the United States. She is a certified LGBT BE (Business Enterprise) via the NGLCC (National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce). She is a member of the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Sierra Club, and the Audubon Society. She is also a 2012 finalist for the Tampa Bay Business Woman of the Year award given by the Tampa Bay Business Journal based on community volunteerism, business principals and customer satisfaction.
The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Independent Financial Partners, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL financial.
Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, NJ, TX. www.finra.org. www.sipc.org