Members have been contacting FEA recently asking about the extension of Federal Benefits to the partners of federal employees. In June of 2010, President Obama signed a “Presidential Memorandum-Extension of Benefits to Same-Sex Domestic Partners of Federal Employees” in which he directed that agencies should immediately “extend benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees, and, where applicable, to the children of same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees.” On July 28, 2011, The U.S. Office of Personnel Management “proposed regulations to clarify that an employee’s same-sex domestic partner qualifies, and should be treated as, a family member for purposes of eligibility for noncompetitive appointment.”
As a result of these two Presidential memoranda, members can now request to include their domestic partners on their return agreement travel (RAT) orders on TOPS. However, as for LQA, PA and ID cards, despite repeated requests and attempts by FEA-Washington, there is little movement on these issues at the Pentagon. Some members have also made attempts at the local and installation level to request ID cards or benefits for their domestic partners, but have been unsuccessful.
FEA-Washington has filed an Association Grievance on these issues, and is moving full speed ahead on this issue due to the lack of positive movement in resolving these issues. FEA-Washington is cautiously optimistic about our chances of prevailing in this matter. However, it is impossible to predict the outcome of any litigation with a degree of certainty.
August 16, 2011
Some of you may have applied for ID cards for domestic partners. These requests for ID cards have been denied.
We will ULTIMATELY obtain ID cards for domestic partners. This issue will have to be resolved at the DoD level, and not at the local level.
Below is what FEA is doing or plan to do:
1. We are requesting DoD to issue a directive/guidance for officials responsible for issuing ID cards at the local level. We expect DoD to respond favorably to our request. It will take a while, however, for the directive/guidance to be issued by DoD as coordination must be completed first.
2. In the unlikely event that DoD rejects our request, we will make the refusal to issue ID cards an issue when we proceed to arbitration on the pending Association grievance dealing with the denial of benefits for domestic partners.
We will keep you informed on the progress regarding this issue.
August 10, 2011
I hope you are having a relaxing summer!
I wanted to update you on the latest involving the issue of benefits for domestic partners:
RETURN AGREEMENT TRAVEL (RAT):
If you are eligible for RAT this summer, please go to TOPS and request to amend your travel orders. You will need to review carefully the newly adopted Affidavit Declaring Domestic Partner Relationship. If you meet the requirements listed in the affidavit, sign, date, and submit it. Once this is done, we expect that your request for RAT travel for your domestic partner will be approved. We realize that your request was denied when you submitted it earlier. Please resubmit or amend your RAT request.
LIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCES (LQA) and POST ALLOWANCES:
DoD is in the process of amending its regulations recognizing domestic partners as dependents of the employee for LQA and Post Allowance purposes. The amended DoD regulation has not yet been issued. We expect the regulation to be promulgated in a few months. Once the regulation is in place, you can apply to receive PROSPECTIVELY LQA and Post allowances for your domestic partner.
For those of you who have been denied LQA and Post Allowances for your domestic partners since 2009, when the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) were amended to cover domestic partners, FEA will litigate this issue in the near future to seek retroactive LQA and Post Allowances for you/your partner. Please keep all documents showing losses of LQA and Post Allowances in a safe place. FEA will ask you for a copy these documents showing your losses in the near future. These documents will be needed prior to litigation.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
H.T. Nguyen / Executive Director / General Counsel / Federal Education Association/