ATHENS (MCT) -- The state Board of Regents voted Monday to amend its Optional Retirement plan to include legally married same-sex partners in the plan's definitions of "spouse" and "surviving spouse."
The change, enacted to be in compliance with federal tax law, affects minimum distribution rules and rollovers, which can affect the federal tax liability when a spouse dies, according to an announcement from the University System of Georgia.
The policy change does not affect other benefit programs such as health insurance offered by the University System of Georgia, according to the announcement.
The change comes in response to changes in federal tax law following last summer's Supreme Court decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which limited marriage to partners of opposite sexes.
The changes in tax law don't affect the other retirement system for educators in Georgia, the Teachers Retirement System, because under TRS rules a member of the plan can name anyone as a beneficiary.
"A member is not required to name a spouse as beneficiary," said Jeff Ezell, executive director of the TRS.
At the same meeting, conducted via telephone conference call, the board authorized a pay raise for University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby. Huckaby will get a 5 percent boost of $21,250 in his base pay of $425,000.
The 5 percent pay raise will be applied entirely to deferred compensation. Huckaby's total compensation in the 2015 fiscal year beginning today will include $425,000 in base pay and a housing allowance of $72,000 for total compensation of $518,250.