The LGBT community has made massive gains in the recent past, the most notable being the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage last June. And while many are still reveling in the victory, readying to finally have their love recognized as equal to the rest of the nation’s, the group Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE) wants LGBT couples to be sure they’re ready for what follows after the “I dos.”
The Talk Before You Walk campaign aims to bring attention to several financial issues prospective newlyweds of all ages should consider before walking down the aisle. Elders and elders-to-be are urged to consider different important points such as health insurance, housing, taxes and certain benefits.
Here are some highlights straight from SAGE that could help couples decide what would be the best choice for them.
“As the saying goes, nothing is certain but death and taxes. Since you can’t avoid them, it’s critical to be aware of what your tax responsibilities will be. Marriage comes with many tax implications, including income and estate taxes. There is no one-size-fits all approach to tax planning, so consult a financial advisor to determine how being married can implicate your tax status.”
– Education Assistance
“Education is pricey, but where would you be without it? Federal assistance for higher education is based on combined income. If you, your spouse-to-be or your children are in or about to begin higher education, consider how your joint income could impact your eligibility for aid.”
“As Dorothy said, “there’s no place like home.” If you or your partner receive a housing subsidy, when you marry your resources will be counted together to determine if you qualify. Marrying may mean losing your subsidy.”
– Social Security
“It’s a critical lifeline—make sure it stays intact. Your benefits can be significantly impacted by your marital status, including whether and when you qualify, and whether you receive spousal or survivor benefits.”
“Medicaid coverage is in part determined by your income, and therefore by your marital status. If your marriage results in a higher combined income, you may find yourself ineligible for coverage. Each state has its own program and specific rules for eligibility—check with your local program to find out more.”
– Spousal Impoverishment Protections
“Say it five times fast: Spousal Impoverishment Protections. It may be a mouthful, but it’s truly critical. If you or your partner need to move to a nursing home or long-term care facility, these protections can prevent you from having to deplete your joint assets to pay for care. Talk to a financial planner about whether marriage would be helpful or harmful given your financial situation.”
Find out more at Talk Before You Walk