A Post-DOMA Nation – Worth the Wait for Guidance?
Hopefully the federal government, including both the IRS and DOL, has learned a lesson from the poor communication efforts in implementing Health Care Reform. Too many notice requirements (see my colleague Lyndsey Barnett’s post) and multiple effective dates have confused employees and employers alike and contributed to the delays in implementation. My guess is that the delays are also triggered by a need for the government regulators to “quickly” react to the partial repeal of DOMA in our post-Windsor nation. Social security benefits are already being awarded for same-sex spouses, and tax-filers may want to file amended returns before the statute of limitations expires so as to avoid losing certain tax benefit. But what employers really need right now is for the government to roll out a uniform effective date for health and other benefit plans to make design changes to include same-sex spouses on the same level as traditional spouses. Piecemeal regulations from different agencies will only result in additional confusion.