Domestic Partner Health Benefits


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
Sept. 14, 2016 When Superseded 21  


NOTE: This instruction supersedes DPM instruction No. 21B-13, optional Health Insurance Coverage under the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 (Domestic Partnership), as Amended, dated May 22, 2009.

The Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 expanded health insurance coverage to employees' with domestic partners and their family members. The purpose of this instruction is to clarify that health insurance premiums under the District's health plan for domestic partners shall be deducted on an after-tax basis, with certain exceptions, and provide related and revised forms.

Eligibility for Health Benefits

The District government offers most of its employees a number of health coverage options. An employee is generally eligible for these health care options if he or she:

  • Was first hired by the District on or after October 1, 1987; and
  • Serves in a position other than a temporary appointment of one year or less.

Domestic Partner Health Benefits

District employees who are eligible for health care benefits may elect to enroll their domestic partner and/or dependent children when initially hired, a qualifying event, or during any open enrollment period. An employee will have the option of enrolling in "self + 1" or family coverage.

DEPENDENT CHILDREN: A natural child, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, or child in the legal custody of a domestic partner who is unmarried and under twenty-two (22) years old, is unmarried under twenty-five (25) years old and a full-time student, or is unmarried of any age and incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before the age of twenty-two (22).

DOMESTIC PARTNER: A person with whom an employee maintains a committed relationship and who has registered domestic partnership with the Department of Health (DOH).

The health insurance coverage premiums are shared by the District and the eligible employee, with the District paying 75% of premiums and the employee paying the remaining 25%. The employee's portion of the health insurance premiums are deducted on an after-tax basis directly from his or her paycheck.

Special Tax Provisions for Claiming Domestic Partner as Dependent

An employee who can claim his or her domestic partner or children as dependents, or both, under federal law may pay their portion of the health insurance premiums on a pre-tax basis. A domestic partner, and any children, are considered dependents if the employee is responsible for more than half of their support for the calendar year in which the taxable year of the employee begins and meets the Internal Revenue Services' definition of a qualifying relative [1].

[1] For additional information, refer to the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 152(d)(2).

OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD: Is a period of time occurring once per year, when employees within the District government may enroll or make changes to their elected benefit options, such as health insurance. Open enrollment typically takes place between November and December of each year.

Submitting Documentation for Coverage

Eligible employees must submit the following documentation to enroll their domestic partner or children in the District's health benefits coverage when initially hired, upon a qualifying event, or during the open enrollment period. The supporting documentation includes:

  1. A copy of the a valid domestic partner registration signed by both partners obtained from the DOH;
  2. A completed DSCF No. 12B-1272, Affidavit of Domestic Partner for Health Insurance Benefits; and
  3. Complete DSCF No. 21B-1273, Domestic Partner - Tax Dependent Status Form, if an employee can claim his or her domestic partner and any children as dependent(s).

An employee must provide written notice to the D.C. Department of Human Resources (DCHR) if there are any changes of circumstances attested to in the affidavit.

Proof of Eligibility

In addition to the documentation listed above an employee must also submit documents that show the dependency of any child of a domestic partner; such as one (1) of the following:

  1. Most recently filed Form 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return that includes the child(ren) as a dependent(s) (the financial information and dependent's social security numbers may be blacked out);
  2. Birth certificate (or other official document) showing the name of the parent who is the subscriber on the document, the subscriber's state-registered domestic partner [2];
  3. Certificate or decree of adoption;
  4. Court-ordered parenting plan;
  5. Medical Support Notice;
  6. Original Foster child certification and a copy of documentation of regular and substantial support of the child);
  7. Disabled Child: Medical verification of disability prior to Age 26;
  8. Legal Custody: Copy of Court Order granting legal custody; or
  9. Step Child: Birth Certificate [3], Copy of Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree or Custody Papers.

[2] If the dependent is the subscriber's stepchild, the subscriber must also verify the state-registered domestic partner to enroll the child, even if not enrolling the partner in DCEHB coverage.

[3] If the dependent is the subscriber's stepchild, the subscriber must also verify the state-registered domestic partner to enroll the child, even if not enrolling the spouse/partner in DCEHB coverage.

Enrollment through PeopleSoft

Eligible employees must enroll to make enrollment changes through the Employee Self Service (ESS) portal in PeopleSoft at Employees must submit a copy of the email confirmation, domestic partnership form, and the supporting documentation, as outlined in the previous section, to the DCHR's Benefits and Retirement Administration, or via email to

NOTE: The submission of fraudulent documentation may result in disciplinary action up to and including removal, a lapse in coverage, and/or criminal prosecution.

Termination of Domestic Partnership Health Benefits

Temporary Continuation of Coverage

An employee who separates from the District government may be eligible to continue the health insurance coverage for his or her domestic partner and dependents under a Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC). The former employee will be responsible for 100% of the premium cost plus an additional 2% for administrative fees.

Termination of the Domestic Partnership Relations

  • A domestic partnership may be terminated, with or without the consent of both partners, by filing a termination of domestic partnership statement with the DOH registrar. The termination of the domestic partnership will become effective six (6) months after the date the statement is filed with the DOH registrar.
  • An employee who files for termination of a domestic partnership must notify DCHR within 30 days of the filing. Health benefits enrollment of the domestic partner and his or her dependents will continue during the six (6) months that the termination of the domestic partnership is pending, provided District government employment is maintained. Neither partner may apply for a new certificate of domestic partnership while the termination of the domestic partnership is pending.

Termination Due to Death of Employee

Health benefits for domestic partner and dependents will be terminated upon the death of the employee.


Employees should consult with a tax consultant to determine if his or her domestic partner and children can be claimed as dependents.


An employer who claims his or her domestic partner and any children as dependents on his or her health insurance will be required to recertify using DCSF 21B-1274, Domestic Partnership - Certification of Federal Tax Dependent Status, annually with DCHR.

Legal Authorities

  • Section 2129 of Chapter 21, Health Benefits, of Title 6B of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR);
  • Chapter 80, Domestic Partnership, of TItle 29 of the D.C. Municipal Regulations; and
  • Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 152.


For additional information concerning this instruction, please contact DCHR's Benefits and Retirement Administration by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an email to


  1. I-21B-19