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View Diary: Is Boeing poised to deny Washington married couples equal benefits? (71 comments)

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  •  Actually no (6+ / 0-)

    You take a lower pension than you would have if you were single to provide a partial pension for a spouse. The end result is two sets of payments that are worth the same amount of money on an actuarial present value basis. The amount of the discount varies depending on the age of the spouse (an older spouse would be more likely to die before the retiree, so would cause a lower discount).

    Now where it could cost Boeing some money is if there are any post-retirement health benefits that would cover the surviving spouse.

    And IANAL, but I suppose one place where DOMA could apply is in what is the default option. Federal law requires that the default for married couples is payment over both spouse's lifetimes. Receiving payments over the retiree's lifetime only requires both spouses to sign a waiver. I believe in the past some retirees signed up for the higher payment without telling their spouses, who were most surprised to find they were out in the cold when the retiree died first (some guys can be real dicks). In any event, under DOMA same-sex couples aren't considered to be spouses, so any reference to spouse in federal law wouldn't apply to them.

    And finally, Boeing really are being dicks about this. When I retired from Ford, my partner and I were treated just like married couples. He's the surviving spouse for my pension payments, will be able to continue my medical and dental insurance, and is the beneficiary for my 401k.

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