To: FEA Members
From: H.T. Nguyen, FEA Executive Director/General Counsel
Date: 4/19/11
Re: Entitlement to all dependent benefits for same sex domestic partners

A number of FEA members are working to advance their requests to DoDEA to grant them all available dependent benefits based on their domestic partner being their dependent. This is to fill you in on the situation as it stands now, and what the next steps in the process are.

As you may know, FEA President Michael Priser and I have requested that DoDEA grant benefits to domestic partners as required by the regulations promulgated by the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the General Services Administration. I have also been in regular communication with Ms. Lenoir Graham, DoDEA HR Director, on this issue. The latest telephone conversation I had with Lenoir was this morning.

Ms. Graham informed me that while the regulations have been changed to include domestic partners, DoDEA has received no guidance from DoD on these changes. Ms. Graham told me that DoDEA has made requests to DoD for guidance, but has not received a response to these requests to date. She informed me that, until DoD provides guidance, DoDEA would not be able to process requests for benefits (i.e. travel orders, LQA, Post Allowances, ID cards, etc.).

Accordingly, the Association’s plan is that our office will file an Association Grievance in a few days. To assist our office in preparing for and filing the grievance, we need our members affected by this situation to do several things for us.

If you have not already done so, we need you to go to the TOPS site, and request travel orders for your domestic partner. Then, we need you to go to the DAPS site, and fill out the 1190 form to request housing and Post Allowance benefits based on your domestic partner being your dependent.

While we know that some may have already taken these steps, we are asking those who have not already done so to please take both of these steps, scan a copy of your request, and email a copy of each request to our office for the grievance file. For those who have already taken these steps, please send our office as quickly as possible a copy of all these requests by email, so that we can be sure we have a complete set of files for the grievance.

You can email us at FEAlegal@nea.org

Therefore, we would ask everyone to please keep all of the applicable receipts for housing and any documents showing what you would have received if your domestic partner had been recognized as your dependent for benefits purposes from these dates forward. Please make a copy for your files, and continue to retain them, as we may ask you to submit these copies to our office for the grievance.

Just to be clear, we do not know how long it will take for DoD to issue guidance, so the reason that we are filing this grievance is to preserve your retroactive pay from the effective date of these entitlements. In other words, the grievance is to allow you to pursue any benefits that you were not provided between the time that the regulations were changed until whatever date that DoD provides guidance and DoDEA eventually provides these benefits.