(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service released guidance on how domestic violence victims can claim a premium assistance tax credit for 2014 when filing separately from their spouse. As a leader on both issues of affordable health care and domestic violence, Senator Murray sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this week encouraging them to issue guidance as soon as possible so victims have the ability to access comprehensive quality health care, as provided under the Affordable Care Act.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, many insurance plans must now cover key preventive health services, including screening and counseling for domestic violence,” said Senator Murray. “Unfortunately, too many survivors of such violence struggle to access these benefits because of an unintentional obstacle in the law. I am grateful Secretaries Lew and Sebelius have taken swift action to correct this barrier and look forward to working with them in the coming months to ensure access to these critical health care services remains available for all.”
Currently, victims of domestic violence face difficulty in obtaining eligibility for tax credits to help them purchase insurance through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces because they are currently required to file a joint tax return with their spouse to quality for advanced premium assistance tax credits.
Today’s guidance states that a married individual who is living apart from his or her spouse, and who is unable to file a joint return as a result of domestic abuse, will be permitted to claim a premium assistance tax credit for 2014 while filing a tax return with a filing status of “married filing separately”.