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With respect to the Retirement System, domestic partnerships shall be treated exactly the same as marriages, domestic partners shall be treated exactly the same as spouses, termination of a domestic partnership shall be treated exactly the same as a dissolution of marriage and qualified surviving domestic partners shall be treated exactly the same as qualified surviving spouses, respectively.
(a) As used in the retirement plans established by this Charter, the phrase "surviving wife" shall also mean and include a "surviving spouse." As used in these sections, the phrases "surviving wife" and "surviving spouse" shall also mean and include a surviving domestic partner, provided that:
(1) there is no surviving spouse, and
(2) the member has designated his or her domestic partner as beneficiary with the Retirement System, and
(3) the domestic partnership is established or recognized according to those provisions of Chapter 62 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, as amended from time to time. Domestic partners who have formed their domestic partnership only by notarization of a declaration of Domestic Partnership as provided in Chapter 62 of the San Francisco Administrative Code shall not be recognized or treated as a domestic partnership for purposes under the Retirement System unless and until the domestic partnership is registered or certified. A certificate of such domestic partnership, civil union, or similar legal relationship issued by another jurisdiction in a form that is equivalent to the records that the Retirement System relies upon to verify marriages shall constitute sufficient proof of such legal relationship.
(b) Beginning March 5, 2002, the requirement of filing a Certificate of Domestic Partnership with the Retirement System shall not apply to members who were retired on or before November 8, 1995 and who had filed a signed Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the County Clerk at least one full year prior to the effective date of his or her retirement; and provided further that, as to any such member who was retired on or before November 8, 1995, no adjustment to a retirement allowance and no payments to a qualified surviving domestic partner shall begin before the effective date of this amendment or before the first day of the month in which an application is made to the Retirement System, which ever occurs later.
(c) A monthly allowance equal to what would other-wise be payable to a surviving spouse shall be paid to the said surviving domestic partner, until he or she dies, marries or establishes a new domestic partnership. Establishment of a domestic partnership by a surviving spouse shall be treated exactly the same as a remarriage for retirement purposes.
(d) Notwithstanding subsection (c), no additional continuation allowance shall be paid after March 2, 2004 to a surviving domestic partner who is receiving a continuation allowance as the surviving spouse of another member on or before March 2, 2004.
(e) No continuation allowance shall be payable under the provisions of this section approved by the electorate on March 2, 2004 to the survivor of any member or retired member who died on or before March 1, 2004. Any retirement allowance payable to a person who becomes a qualified surviving domestic partner pursuant to the provisions of this section approved by the electorate on March 2, 2004, shall not begin before April 15, 2004.
(f) The domestic partner benefits under this section will be limited by Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended from time to time. No domestic partner benefits will be effective if they have an adverse impact on the tax qualified status of the Retirement System under Section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended from time to time.
(Amended March 2002; November 2002; March 2004)