Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family ServicesIllinois Department of Human Services

06/09/14

Summary:

  • Effective immediately, same sex marriages are considered the same as opposite sex marriages for purposes of determining eligibility for all cash, SNAP and medical programs.
  • A pregnant woman's spouse who is not a parent or caretaker relative of a dependent child does not qualify for FamilyCare.
  • Couples who are in a civil union are not recognized as married couples for AABD cash, SNAP and community medical programs.
    • If food is bought and prepared separately, grant separate SNAP unit status.
    • Policy regarding civil unions and persons who receive long term care (LTC) medical services will be issued in a separate release.
  • The civil union partner of a caretaker may be included in an RRP cash case.
  • Civil union partners have the same rights and responsibilities as spouses for TANF.
  • For TANF only, a civil union partner is a specified relative who may function as a caretaker relative.
  • For SNAP, consider a civil union partner as a parent if the child is born into the civil union.
  • Co-parents listed on a child's birth record are legal parents, no matter what their genders are or how the parentage was established.
  • Caretaker relative status may be verified through a Department of Public Health inquiry, or statement of relationship in DCFS records.

  1. SAME SEX MARRIAGES
    1. Background (Medical Programs and Federal Rules)
    2. Same Sex Marriage and the Health Insurance Marketplace
    3. Same Sex Marriages and SNAP Eligibility
    4. System Entry for Same Sex Marriage
  2. Spouse of a Pregnant Woman
  3. CIVIL UNIONS
    1. Medical Programs
    2. RRP Cash
    3. TANF
    4. SNAP
    5. System Entry for Civil Unions
  4. CO-PARENTS
  5. Caretaker Relative Verification for TANF
    1. MANUAL REVISIONS

SAME SEX MARRIAGES

Under the "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act" (PA 98-0597) Illinois law permits same sex marriages to be entered into statewide effective June 1, 2014.

Same sex marriages can be entered into prior to June 1st in some Illinois counties, as well as in other states. For that reason same sex marriages will be treated the same as opposite sex marriages for purposes of determining eligibility for all cash, SNAP and medical benefits effective immediately. This also applies to financial eligibility policy regarding Long Term Care clients who have community spouses (see PM 15-04-04).

Background (Medical Programs and Federal Rules)

The Medicaid and CHIP programs are regulated by federal rules. Previously, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevented states from recognizing same sex marriage for the purpose of determining eligibility for medical benefits programs. The section of DOMA that barred the recognition of same sex marriage was invalidated by the Supreme Court in June 2013.

On September 27, 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance that permits states to recognize same sex marriages for medical eligibility determination purposes. However, CMS added that federal Medicaid law does not recognize civil unions.

Same Sex Marriage and the Health Insurance Marketplace

For federal tax purposes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will recognize a same sex marriage that was entered into in a state that recognizes same sex marriage regardless of whether the couple currently resides in a state that recognizes such marriages. Only married couples may file joint tax returns. The Health Insurance Marketplace uses IRS rules to determine household size. Recognizing same sex marriage immediately for medical programs ensures consistency between the Marketplace and the medical programs that use MAGI rules.

Same Sex Marriages and SNAP Eligibility

Same sex marriages are considered the same as opposite sex marriages for SNAP. When determining eligibility for SNAP consider as one SNAP unit.

Example: Mr. B and Mr. J are applying for SNAP benefits. Mr. B states that he is married to Mr. J. Consider Mr. B and Mr. J as a married couple and one SNAP unit, even if food is bought and prepared separately.

System Entry for Same Sex Marriage

The Integrated Eligibility System (IES) is programmed to determine eligibility correctly for spouses, or parents, of the same gender. 

Spouse of a Pregnant Woman

The spouse of a pregnant woman who is not a parent or caretaker relative of a dependent child does not qualify for the FamilyCare Assist or Moms & Babies programs. However, the spouse may qualify for the ACA Adult program until the baby is born.

CIVIL UNIONS

Under the "Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act" (PA 96-1513) that was effective June 1, 2011, both same sex and opposite sex couples could enter into civil unions. Illinois will retain civil unions as a separate legal status. Civil union partners have the option to convert their partnership into a marriage.

Medical Programs

For community cases, civil union partners are not treated as married couples for medical programs. Separate policy will be issued regarding how to consider the income and resources of a person who receives long term care (LTC) services when that person has a civil union partner who lives in the community. LTC services include nursing homes, supportive living facilities and Department on Aging (DoA) waiver services.

A civil union partner who is not the biological parent of a child is considered to be a child's parent if his or her name is listed as a parent on a child's birth certificate, or through adoption.

RRP Cash

RRP cash filing unit policy is revised to allow the civil union partner of the caretaker to be included in a family case. A person may receive benefits as an adult if they are in a civil union and living with their civil union partner. Where TANF policy is used, revisions are noted as follows.

TANF

Civil union partners have the same rights and responsibilities as spouses for TANF.

  • Civil union partners living with a dependent child must be included in the filing unit when:
    • the child is born into the civil union, unless alternate parentage is established by court order; or
    • parentage is established through birth or adoption.
  • Civil union partners are financially responsible for one another.
  • A civil union partner who is not the parent of any dependent children in the case may be included as an optional requesting member of the filing unit.
  • If the civil union partner of a requesting parent is not included in the filing unit as an optional requesting member, determine if the partner has income available to meet the needs of the requesting parent. Use policy for budgeting income of an excluded spouse/civil union partner.
  • The civil union partner of a pregnant woman who is applying for an adult-only pregnant woman case must be included in the request.
  • A civil union partner of a blood, step, or adoptive relative is the same degree of kinship as the relative. The partner can be a caretaker relative even if the civil union has ended.
  • Include the income of a sponsor's civil union partner to determine sponsor liability.

SNAP

  • Couples who are in a civil union are not considered spouses for SNAP. Grant separate SNAP unit status if food is bought and prepared separately.
    • Example: Ms. T and Ms. L live together as civil union partners. Ms. T is applying for SNAP benefits and states she buys and prepares food separately from Ms. L.
    • Grant Ms. T separate SNAP unit status.
  • Consider a civil union partner as a parent if the child is born into the civil union. Accept the customer's statement. 
    • Example 1: Ms. J and Ms. M are in a civil union. They are applying for SNAP benefits for themselves and Ms. J's child born into the civil union. Ms. M buys and prepares food separately from both Ms. J and her child. Since the child was born into the civil union, consider as one SNAP unit, even if food is bought and prepared separately.
    • Example 2: Ms. K and her child are receiving SNAP benefits. Ms. K enters into a civil union with Ms. B but claims that she and her daughter buy and prepare meals separately. Since the child was not born into the civil union, Ms. K and her child may be a separate SNAP unit from Ms. B.

System Entry for Civil Unions 

  • "Civil union partner" is requested to be added to the IES relationship drop down to show the relationship among adults in the EDG. Until it is added, select "spouse" for TANF and RRP requests. Select "unrelated" for all other requests.  
  • Do not code the marital status (Item 67) as married and living with spouse in legacy systems.
  • Code parent-child relationships as usual in IES. A civil union partner who is not a parent of an eligible child is considered a stepparent.
  • Code a child's relationship to the payee (Item 62) if living with civil union partners, as follows:
    • 01 - Two Parents (Both partners are legal parents through birth, birth into civil union or adoption);
    • 02 - Mother and Stepparent/Civil union partner (Payee is mother who is living with her civil union partner);
    • 03 - Father and Stepparent/Civil union partner (Payee is father who is living with his civil union partner).
    • 06 - Stepparent or Spouse of Caretaker Relative (Payee is the caretaker relative) TANF ONLY 
  • When coding status of parent (Item 63), consider a child born into a civil union the same as a child born when parents were married to each other. See WAG 27-63-00.
  • A new matchable code (Item 69) to add a second adult as the optional civil union partner of the caretaker for TANF will be added to the CDB. Until this is done, use Code 2 and record in case notes that the second adult is an optional civil union partner, and not a parent to any eligible children.

NOTE: Before swapping a TANF case to FamilyCare Assist, delete the optional civil union partner from the case using TA 34 TAR 16: "x______x has been deleted from your case because he/she is not the caretaker relative, parent of an eligible child, or spouse of the caretaker relative." Determine ACA adult eligibility.  

CO-PARENTS

The Illinois birth record for all children born after 2010 labels parents as "mother/co-parent" and "father/co-parent". The birth certificate of a child born into a civil union or marriage lists parents the same way no matter the gender of the spouses or civil-union partners.

Each co-parent is considered a child's legal parent no matter how the parentage was established. A co-parent is related to a child to the first degree. This applies to all cash, medical and child support policy.

Caretaker Relative Verification for TANF

It is not necessary to require a copy of a birth certificate to verify relationship, if parental relationship can be verified through a Department of Public Health inquiry. Close relative status can be verified by DCFS records which state the relationship to the child. As a reminder, relationship does not have to be verified for medical programs unless questionable.

MANUAL REVISIONS

[signed copy on file]

Michelle R. B. Saddler 

Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services 

Julie Hamos 

Director, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services