Under certain benefit plans, coverage for current domestic partners is provided. This includes both same and opposite sex domestic partners and children of a domestic partner.
The benefits covered under this arrangement are medical, dental, group legal plan, employee assistance plan, tuition waiver, tuition exchange, tuition scholarship, long-term care, family and medical leave, bereavement leave, death benefits, and Student Life Center membership.
In order to qualify for domestic partner benefits, both partners must sign an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership certifying that the following attributes of a domestic partner relationship are all present:
- The individuals have an exclusive mutual commitment, similar to that of a marriage;
- The individuals are each other's sole domestic partner and intend to remain so indefinitely;
- Neither partner is legally married;
- Neither individual is related by blood to a degree of closeness which would prohibit legal marriage in the state in which the partners legally reside;
- Both individuals are at least (18) years of age and are legally competent to contract;
- The individuals are currently residing together and have resided together in a common household for at least twelve (12) consecutive months and intend to reside together indefinitely;
- At least twelve (12) months have elapsed since the termination of a Declaration of Domestic Partnership or its equivalent in any jurisdiction;
- Both individuals are committed to the physical, emotional, and financial care and support of each other and share with each other the common necessities and tasks of one household and are financially interdependent.
Benefit coverage for a partner is not automatic once an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership has been filed with RIT; an enrollment form electing benefits needs to be completed within 31 days following the filing of the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership. Also, in order for a domestic partner to be a beneficiary for death or retirement benefits, the applicable beneficiary designation form(s) must be completed and filed.
For children of domestic partners, RIT's current definition of an eligible dependent under each benefit plan applies.
RIT pays the same share of the premium costs of any covered benefit as it pays for family or two-person coverage for individuals who are not domestic partners.
There May Be Tax Implications To Covering Your Domestic Partner
Generally, medical and dental insurance benefits are excluded from taxable income if the recipient of the benefit is the employee, or the employee's spouse or dependent. Under IRS rules, if an individual, such as a domestic partner, qualifies as a tax dependent of the employee, the RIT-provided value of the benefits will not be treated as taxable income and the employee can pay for the benefit with before-tax dollars. In all other cases, probably most situations,
- the employee can continue to pay the contribution for his/her individual coverage (or two person, one parent family, or family if covering eligible children) with before-tax dollars, and
- the employee will have taxable income equal to the value of the benefit provided by RIT, called "imputed income" if applicable, and
- the employee contribution amount in excess of the individual coverage contribution amount (or two person or one parent family if applicable) will be paid with after-tax dollars.
When a domestic partnership relationship, as defined above, ceases to exist because it no longer has one or more of the necessary elements, the employee must notify the RIT Human Resources Department in writing within the next 31 days. The benefit coverage for the former domestic partner and the children of the former domestic partner will cease at the end of the month in which the termination of the domestic partner relationship ends as indicated on the Statement of Termination of Domestic Partnership. Failure to report the termination of a domestic partner relationship constitutes a false claim for benefits and will subject the employee to possible sanctions, which could include termination of employment.
In the event of a termination of domestic partnership, the former domestic partner is eligible to continue coverage similar to the COBRA continuation. Refer to the COBRA information in the Medical Care Plan section of this handbook.
Employees who retire on or after March 31, 1998 may cover their domestic partner in retirement.