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Monday, September 23, 2013

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Track: Regulatory & Compliance View Track

THE SUPREME COURT HAS RULED ON DOMA - SO NOW WHAT FOR EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN SPONSORS

Todd Solomon, Partner, Employee Benefits Practice Group, MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY LLP

As a result of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), same-sex relationships traditionally had not been recognized for purposes of federal law, including ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, and COBRA. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional, everything has changed.  The ruling has significant implications on the administration of benefit plans, including the taxation of health, dental, and vision benefits for same-sex spouses and survivor benefits for same-sex spouses under retirement plans. In addition, several open questions remain regarding which same-sex couples are entitled to benefits and what retroactive impact the ruling may have.  Employers are hoping for more guidance from the IRS and other agencies to help them address administrative challenges. This is because states are still permitted to have their own definition of marriage and while 13 states recognize same-sex marriage, 37 states do not.  This session will discuss the impact of the Supreme Court's landmark decision on employee benefit plan sponsors and will address key considerations for employer-provided plans, including an up-to-date description of the federal and state taxation of health and welfare benefits, survivor benefit rights for the partners of LGBT employees. I will provide attendees with a summary of steps all employers must take in light of the Supreme Court's decisions.

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