When it comes to LGBT financial issues, Prudential is one insurance company that has been ahead of the game. The company has conducted extensive research on the LGBT community, worked with the Human Rights Campaign to have the third section of DOMA repealed and has dedicated a section of their website to specific financial and insurance needs of the LGBT community.
Prudential hosted a panel discussion this morning at which executives from the company announced their most recent initiative in the LGBT market: a white paper entitled “Financial Planning Considerations for Same-Sex Couples After Windsor.”
On hand to discuss the implications of the repeal of DOMA were Bob DeFillippo, corporate vice president and chief communications officer at Prudential; James Mahaney, vice president with the strategic initiatives unit of Prudential; Debra Abbott-Walker, a manager and agency recruiter with Prudential; and Brad Snyder, director, institutional giving for The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgendered Community Center (The Center) in New York City.
“It’s important for same-sex couples who are already married or contemplating marriage to become aware of the many workplace benefits and financial planning strategies that are now available to them as a result of the [United States v. Windsor] decision,” said James Mahaney, author of the paper. “These benefits have the potential to make a significant impact on the financial health of same-sex couples.”
The white paper, among other things, describes how same-sex married couples might now have access to spousal health care benefits. It also encourages same-sex married couples to meet with a financial professional to review whether filing amended federal tax returns for prior years is beneficial, as they may be able to claim a refund for federal taxes paid on imputed income related to health care benefits previously purchased for a same-sex spouse.
For Abbott-Walker, the DOMA decision hit close to home.
“I watched the news coverage of the repeal with my wife, Jennifer, and son, Luke,” she said. “I was more touched than I thought I would be. Knowing that our federal government recognizes our marriage is so gratifying. Now I know that if something happens to me or my wife, our children will receive survivor benefits.”
But all panelists agreed that, due to state laws, benefits, both in marriage and divorce, can become murky.
“It gets very complicated when you have a couple who is married but living in a non-same-sex state, or who is divorcing and living in a non-same-sex state,” said Snyder.
Indeed, when federal law conflicts with state law, issues emerge. However, with initiatives such as Prudential’s and other major insurance companies, the LGBT community has access to benefits — and advisors — like never before.