4. Special applicability; domestic partners; surviving domestic partners; death benefits; funeral expenses; terrorist attacks of September eleventh, two thousand one; construction. 1. Definition. "Domestic partner" means a person at least eighteen years of age who:
(a) is dependent upon the employee for support as shown by either unilateral dependence or mutual interdependence, as evidenced by a nexus of factors including, but not limited to, common ownership of real or personal property, common householding, children in common, signs of intent to marry, shared budgeting, and the length of the personal relationship with the employee or, if the employee is deceased, was so dependent upon the employee immediately prior to the employee's death; or
(b) has registered as the domestic partner of the employee with any registry of domestic partnerships maintained by the employer of either party, the state, or any county, city, town, or village, or, if the employee is deceased, did so register prior to the employee's death.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the definition of domestic partner made by this subdivision shall supplement or supersede any inconsistent definition of such term by any other general, special, or local law, ordinance, code, or charter so that no person qualifying as a domestic partner, as defined in this subdivision, whether registered or unregistered, shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed not to be a domestic partner.
(d) For the purposes of this section, the term "domestic partner" shall include the term "surviving domestic partner".
Provided however, "domestic partner" shall not include any person who is related by blood to the employee in a manner that would bar marriage to the employee in New York state.
2. Death benefits. The domestic partner, at the time of the death, of any employee shall, if such employee had no spouse at the time of his or her death, be deemed to be the surviving spouse of such employee for the purposes of any death benefit, including but not limited to funeral expenses, to which a surviving spouse would be entitled upon the death of such employee, and any and all such benefits shall be paid to such domestic partner.
3. Applicability. The provisions of this section apply only to cases in which the employee's death occurred as a result of the terrorist attacks that occurred on September eleven, two thousand one.
4. Construction. (a) The definition of the term "domestic partner" made by subdivision one of this section shall not be construed to be an exclusive definition.
(b) The enactment of this section shall not be construed to divest any court of any authority such court may otherwise have to adjudicate a person a domestic partner on the basis of any criteria other than those specified in subdivision one of this section, whether such person has or has not registered as a domestic partner.
Last modified: February 3, 2019