As the U.S. Supreme Court considers arguments on same-sex marriage, one local couple says not having their union recognized by the federal government is costing them thousands of dollars a year. NY1's Anthony Pascale filed the following report.
After being together for 12 years, Antoinette and Samantha Muscarella will celebrate their first wedding anniversary this May. The couple tied the knot here in New York after the state legalized same-sex marriage.
"We were together for so long, and we just wanted the same respect as everybody else would get, they're meant together, they get married, and they move along with their lives," Samantha Muscarella said.
But Samantha says moving on has not been easy. In February, she added her wife onto her health insurance plan. Soon after, she received a letter that said they were writing to inform her that they will be receiving an imputed income payroll adjustment.
The letter states that under the federal Internal Revenue Code same-sex spouses are not recognized as dependents. To keep Antoinette on the plan, the couple has to pay a bi-monthly tax of nearly $600. Samantha says her salary as an employee of a local animal hospital can't cover the added cost.
"I couldn't believe it, I couldn't believe that my check was going to be less that money every two months, and how would I be able to pay for our house, for our expenses, for anything that would come with daily living," Muscarella said.
But for Antoinette, who is battling leukemia, having insurance is vital. Her condition keeps her from working full-time, so she has no healthcare plan of her own.
"She has an illness, so we have to have good insurance, to have the least amount of insurance is not possible at this moment, and we may have to move because the expenses are becoming so exorbitant that we can't afford to live where we are," Muscarella said.
The couple has reached out to Samantha's employer and the insurance company but say they have not been given any other options if they want to keep Antoinette on the plan.
So for now, they will keep paying, even if it means having to leave their home.