Domestic Partners

Department: Human Resources

Subject: Domestic Partners

Date Issued: January 30, 2006

I. Policy

It is the policy of Luther College to extend Domestic Partner benefits to eligible staff in accordance with the established guidelines within specific benefit plan designs. This policy outlines the guidelines for health care/dental care eligibility for domestic partners.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all faculty and staff who are eligible to participate in the College's health and dental care benefits.

III. Terms and Definitions

  • Domestic partner—an individual of the same gender as the faculty or staff member.

IV. Procedures and Guidelines

A. Eligibility

  • A staff member who seeks benefits for a domestic partner or a dependent of a domestic partner must adhere to the criteria defined in the Luther College Affidavit of Domestic Partnership (form is available at Human Resources). The dependent receiving benefits must meet the IRS definition of dependent to avoid the taxability of benefits provided under this program.

B. Domestic partners must certify:

  • This relationship has been in existence for a period of at least 12 consecutive months
  • They are at least 18 years of age or older and are of the same sex.
  • They are unable to qualify for coverage as common law spouses.
  • Neither of them is legally married nor covered under another domestic partner arrangement.
  • They are not related by blood closer than would bar marriage in the state of Iowa.
  • They are mentally competent to consent to contract.
  • They share the common necessities of life and the same regular and permanent residence.
  • Two of the following conditions exist:

—They have common or joint ownership of a residence (home, condominium or mobile home)

—They have at least one of the following:

  • Joint ownership of a motor vehicle
  • Joint checking account
  • Joint credit account
  • Lease for a residence identifying both partners as tenants

—Their domestic partner has been designated as the beneficiary on at least one of the following:

  • Luther group life insurance
  • Retirement contract
  • Employees will (where beneficiary will receive the equivalent of a spousal share under Iowa law)

C. Enrolling a domestic partner

When faculty or staff wish to obtain health care/dental care coverage for her/his domestic partner or a dependent of a domestic partner, they must complete and register the Luther College Affidavit of Domestic Partnership with Human Resources. Once properly registered, they will follow the same steps required for all other health care/dental care enrollments.

D. Dissolution of domestic partnership

  • Staff receiving benefits under a domestic partner arrangement must notify Human Resources within 30 days by filing a Statement of Termination of Domestic Partnership (form is available at Human Resources). A 12-month waiting period must elapse before staff or faculty can enroll a new domestic partner.

E. Benefits extendable to domestic partners

  • Health and dental coverage; (This benefit is subject to IRS regulations for further clarification. Contact the Office of Human Resources, ext. 1134);
  • Participation in employee program discounts, including obtaining a membership card, other services offered to family members of faculty and staff, such as a library card;
  • Participation in Luther College-sponsored special events that include families.

F. Tax implications of domestic partner coverage.

  • The IRS does not automatically recognize a domestic partner as a dependent of the employee. As such, insurance premiums and other medical, dental, prescription drug, vision care and dependent care expenses for a domestic partner do not qualify for pre-tax treatment under the Luther College Flex Benefit Plans unless the domestic partner satisfies the general rules for dependency status under the Internal Revenue Code. If a domestic partner does not satisfy the general dependency rules, Luther is required to calculate the value of the insurance coverage provided to their domestic partner and the domestic partner's children. The employee will be taxed on the value of the coverage as imputed income.

G. To apply for this benefit, contact Human Resources, ext. 1134.

V. Confidentiality and Record

All documents related to this policy will be held in strict confidence in Human Resources.