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Domestic Partnership Benefits Policy

Purpose

Effective January 1, 2013, the College provides Domestic Partnership Benefits for current employees, including both same-sex and opposite-sex partners for all benefits afforded spouses and dependents if all other eligibility requirements are met and maintained.  This policy provides additional information and details about the requirements for domestic partnership benefits at the College.

Scope

This policy applies to eligible College employees.

Policy

To be eligible for certain benefits, the employee and domestic partner must complete, sign, and notarize the Declaration of Domestic Partnership (additional affidavits or declarations may be required for specific insurance coverage along with specified support documentation), and attest to all of the following:

  1. We are age 18 or older, and mentally competent to contract;
  2. We are committed as a family in a long-term relationship of indefinite duration and are socially, emotionally, and financially interdependent;
  3. We have lived together in the same permanent and regular home in a committed personal relationship for at least the 12 months immediately preceding the date of this Declaration of Domestic Partnership;
  4. We are jointly responsible to each other for basic living expenses including, but not limited to, food, clothing, and shelter, with the understanding that contributions toward basic living expenses need not be equal;
  5. We are not married to anyone, are each other’s sole domestic partner, and have not signed a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with another individual in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of this Declaration;
  6. We are not related to each other by blood or adoption to a degree of closeness that would prohibit legal marriage in the state in which we reside;
  7. We understand that if we make false statements in this Declaration, Columbia College reserves the right to take any and all actions necessary to deny benefits or to recover amounts paid for benefits to which a person was not entitled, as well as any expenses or attorneys’ fees incurred by the College in attempt to recover such amounts and that a civil action may be brought against one or both of us for any losses due to any false statements contained in this Declaration;
  8. I, the undersigned employee, further understand that falsification of information in this Declaration, or failure to notify the Office of Human Resources of any change in circumstances, may lead to disciplinary action against me, including discharge from employment;
  9. We agree to notify the College of any change in the status of our domestic partnership as certified in this statement within 30 days of that change by filing a “Termination of Domestic Partnership” form with the Office of Human Resources;
  10. We understand that any domestic partnership recognized by the College on the basis of this declaration will be treated as terminated for benefits purposes on the last day of the month in which the partnership ends;
  11. We understand that completing this Declaration is only one requirement for certain benefits and that all eligibility requirements and other provisions of all benefit plans as well as College policies also apply. We further understand that some insurance providers may not allow domestic partner coverage and that domestic partners will be eligible for benefits only when the College’s insurance providers allow for such coverage.
  12. We understand that any Federal or State tax impact resulting from the imputed value of the benefit provided under the College’s Benefits Policies is our sole responsibility.  We understand that employer coverage for individuals other than employees, their spouses, or their dependents as defined by IRS Code and the Defense of Marriage Act are not excluded from (and will be counted as part of) the employee’s gross taxable income.  We further understand that, as a general rule, current IRS regulations also do not permit domestic partner benefits to be paid for with pre-tax money.  Consequently, premium deductions for benefits such as dental and/ or health insurance will occur on an after-tax basis.  The College recommends that we seek competent legal and tax advice concerning such matters and we acknowledge that the College has provided us with no advice in this regard.

Joint responsibility for each other’s common welfare and shared financial obligations must be demonstrated by the existence of two (2) of the following from each list below.  I certify that the circumstances or arrangements checked below presently exist.

Proof of Common Residence

  • driver's licenses showing same address;
  • passports showing same address;
  • designations for receipt of mail;
  • evidence of a joint lease or mortgage with address;
  • evidence of common household expenses such as utilities or telephone.*

 

 

 

 

 

 * May be used on only one list

Proof of Financial Interdependence

  • ownership of a joint credit or bank account;
  • evidence of a joint mortgage or lease;
  • evidence of a joint obligation on a loan;
  • joint ownership of a residence;
  • joint ownership of an automobile;
  • evidence of common household expenses such as utilities or telephone;*
  • execution of wills naming each other as executor and/or beneficiary;
  • granting each other durable powers of attorney;
  • granting each other health care powers of attorney;
  • designation of each other as beneficiary under a retirement benefit account or life insurance policy;
  • evidence of other joint financial responsibility.

Once covered, a domestic partner will cease to be eligible for benefits in the event that one of the above requirements is no longer satisfied.

If the domestic partnership ends, or if the employee dies, coverage for the domestic partner will terminate the last day of the month in which the partnership ends.  The employee and domestic partner are obligated to report termination of the relationship to Human Resources.   A domestic partner will not be eligible for the federal health benefit continuation program (COBRA).

If a domestic partnership ends, an employee must wait at least twelve (12) months from the time of the termination of the domestic partnership to add a new domestic partner.

Employer coverage for individuals other than employees, their spouses, or their dependents are defined by the IRS Code and the Defense of Marriage Act.

There are strict tax regulations that must be met for a domestic partner to qualify as a tax dependent.  Employees should seek the advice of a qualified tax accountant to make the appropriate determination.  Employees who have a domestic partner who qualifies as a tax dependent must certify the qualification on the Declaration of Domestic Partnership.  If a qualified domestic partner loses that status, the employee must notify Human Resources of the change within thirty (30) days of the disqualification.

 

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