Information for same-sex married members

As of October 17, 2014, Arizona has legally recognized same sex marriage. As a result, the ASRS has updated its policies and procedures to reflect this change, with the same application of retirement policies and procedures for married individuals regardless of sex or gender. A marriage certificate is the required document for determining if a person is a “spouse.”

Married ASRS members have always been free to name anyone as their beneficiary, but naming a spouse – and particularly not naming a spouse – as a beneficiary carries some unique consequences related to ASRS benefits.

Legislation passed in 2012 requires married ASRS members to name his or her spouse as a primary beneficiary with at least fifty percent (50%) of the benefit. The law provides for a waiver of this requirement if the ASRS receives a notarized signature from the spouse waiving rights to a portion of the ASRS benefit. The spousal consent form is available on the ASRS website.

If a member does not have a named beneficiary on file with the ASRS, and passes away, the ASRS pays out any survivor benefits according to statute, which lists the member’s surviving spouse as the first person to receive any survivor benefit.

A spouse is also entitled to participate in a retired member’s health insurance plan, should the member choose to add them to their plan. Prior to state recognition of same-sex marriage, the ASRS offered the option of domestic partner health insurance coverage. The ASRS no longer offers this option.

Also, upon divorce, a spouse is automatically nullified as a beneficiary. If the member wishes for their ex-spouse to remain a beneficiary, they must complete a new beneficiary form, available on the ASRS website. The ASRS will also honor any Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) from the courts upon divorce. This is a legal document that distributes any benefit payments. The ASRS will only need a certified copy of the QDRO issued by a court located in a state recognizing same-sex marriages and divorces in order to process a QDRO for a formerly same-sex married couple.

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