Friday, January 2, 2009
Source: Minnesota Independent
By ANDY BIRKEY 12/30/08 10:17 AM
Call it a Christmas present for gay and lesbian couples. President Bush signed the Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (WRERA) two days before Christmas. The new law makes it mandatory for businesses to roll over retirement benefits to a same-sex partner in the event of the employee’s death.
Previously, employers could decline and surviving same-sex partners would have to pay tax on the inheritance of the deceased partner’s retirement savings. Legally married heterosexual couples automatically avoid that tax penalty.
National LGBT rights groups hailed the move. “This legislation secures much-needed protection for lesbian and gay couples,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Our community faces unique challenges in preparing for retirement because we are denied Social Security spousal and survivor benefits. Protecting our hard-earned retirement savings is even more crucial to us, and until now, the tax code made it that much harder.”