Supreme Court Clarifies Spousal Benefit Eligibility for ‘Legally Separated’ Couples

Feb 23, 2015
  • Retirees

For Immediate Release: November 3, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently ruled that legally separated partners are still considered spouses with regard to eligibility for New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS, the retirement system) spousal benefits including the Medical Subsidy and the Group II (Police and Fire) Automatic Spousal Allowance.

The court’s September 2014 decision in the Petition of Gregory Malisos, an appeal of an NHRS administrative decision, overturned a long-standing NHRS legal interpretation that, for the purposes of retirement system benefit eligibility, a legal separation was treated in the same manner as a divorce.

Legally separated retirees or beneficiaries are encouraged to contact NHRS to determine if they or their legally separated spouse may be eligible for either the Medical Subsidy and/or the Group II (Police and Fire) Automatic Spousal Allowance.

For inquiries regarding eligibility for the Medical Subsidy, call 603-410-3675 or email [email protected].

For inquiries regarding eligibility for the Group II (Police and Fire) Automatic Spousal Allowance, call 603-410-3671 or email [email protected].

The Medical Subsidy is a monthly payment made by NHRS to the retired member’s former employer toward the cost of health insurance for a qualified retiree, his/her qualified spouse, and his/her certifiably dependent children with a disability who are living in the household and being cared for by the retiree.

The Group II Automatic Spousal Allowance provides the qualified surviving spouse of a Group II retiree with a benefit equal to 50% of the retiree’s pension until death or remarriage, under the following conditions:

  • The Group II member retired under Service or Disability Retirement.
  • The retiree was married to the surviving spouse on the effective date of retirement.

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