Same Sex Spousal Equivalent Information

As part of its commitment to diversity, Duke extended benefit coverage for many years to the same-sex partners of eligible faculty and staff because the rights and legal status of marriage were not available to them. However, in 2015, same-sex partners obtained the legal right to marry in North Carolina. 

Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, all faculty and staff, regardless of sexual orientation, must be legally married to cover a partner or partner’s child for benefits or applicable policies.

If eligible faculty or staff members had previously registered a same-sex partner with Duke Human Resource prior to Jan. 1, 2016, the registered partner will be grandfathered under the previous provisions of the Same-Sex Spousal Equivalency policy since they had already qualified for dependent coverage under the pre-existing policy. The grandfathering status is only applicable to the partner on file prior to Jan. 1, 2016.  

Any registered same-sex partners who are not legally married will still not be able to take advantage of the federal and state tax savings for payment of these benefits unless legally married or able to claim one’s partner as a dependent as defined by the IRS and the tax code.

The terms "partner" and "same sex spousal equivalent" will be used interchangeably. The first step is to register your partner as your same-sex spousal equivalent by completing the Declaration of Same-Sex Spousal Equivalent Relationship.  Once you have completed this declaration, you may mail the completed form to Duke HR or stop by 705 Broad Street.  This is a confidential form that will be maintained in the corporate Human Resources personnel file and used only to determine benefit plan eligibility.  If you wish to add your same-sex partner to your health, dental, or vision insurance, then please also complete a Same-Sex Spousal Equivalent Certification of Dependent Status form along with a Health, Dental, and Vision Enrollment Form.

Important Note

Your benefits are paid to you based on legal documents - not on this overview or any other written or oral statements. You are welcome to see those legal documents, and you are invited to discuss any questions you have with a Benefits representative. Duke reserves the right to change, amend or terminate plans or programs in the future.