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Top 15 benefits for married same-sex couples

Everyone knows that the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That means married same-sex couples now qualify for the 1,100+ federal benefits that were previously denied to them. We can’t go through them all, so here are my top 15 benefits for married same-sex couples:

IRA and Roth IRA contributions can be made for a non-working spouse.

A deceased spouse’s retirement accounts such as 401(k)’s, 403(b)’s and IRA’s will now automatically transfer to the surviving spouse.

A surviving spouse will not have to immediately begin withdrawing from a deceased spouse’s retirement accounts creating taxable income.

A joint federal tax return can be filed for a couple rather than submitting two individual tax returns.

No more paying taxes on the value of employer-provided health insurance for an employee’s spouse.

A surviving spouse will receive survivor benefits for their deceased spouse’s pension. This is for all pensions: military, federal, state, county and public-sector.

Military spouses will receive all kinds of benefits like medical coverage, dependent-rate housing allowance, family separation allowance, joint duty assignments and access to military facilities.

A veteran can transfer their GI Bill to their spouse to pay for college.

A spouse can sponsor their non-US citizen spouse for permanent residency. But seek legal advice because it depends on where both spouses live and current visa status.

A surviving spouse can either receive 100 percent of their own Social Security benefit or 100 percent of their deceased spouse’s benefit, whichever is higher.

If your spouse dies while you are still raising children under 16 years old, the surviving spouse can begin collecting Social Security benefits.

A surviving spouse can begin collecting Social Security widow benefits as early as age 60.

Married couples won’t have to worry about exceeding the $14,000 annual gift limit if they transfer assets between each other.

A surviving spouse will no longer have to worry about paying estate taxes due to the unlimited marital deduction (this is what the Edie Windsor case was about).

A spouse now qualifies for the Family Medical Leave Act allowing them to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their sick or disabled spouse.

Now for the bad news. It is still not clear if all these benefits will be granted to married couples that live in states that do not recognize gay marriages. Lots of legal work remains to be done for full equality.

Steve Doster is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional providing commission-free financial advice for do-it-yourself investors. You can reach Steve at Doster Financial Planning by phone 619-688-1192 or email steve@dosterfinancialplanning.com. You can also follow Steve on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or blog to get more personal finance advice and tips.

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Posted by on Jul 11, 2013. Filed under The Money Shot. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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