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Division of Pensions & Benefits

Dependents of Retirees


Eligible dependents include a spouse, civil union partner, or same-sex domestic partner and/or your eligible children. See definitions, below.

  • You may only enroll in the SHBP or SEHBP as an employee or retiree, or be covered as a dependent — but not both.
  • Children may only be covered by one participating parent.

For more information see the Summary Program Description


A spouse is a person to whom you are legally married.

Civil Union Partner

A Civil Union Partner is a person of the same sex with whom you have entered into a civil union.

Domestic Partner

A Domestic Partner is a person of the same sex with whom you have entered into a domestic partnership as defined under the Domestic Partnership Act.

  • The domestic partner of any State employee, State retiree, or an eligible employee or retiree of a participating location that adopts a resolution to provide Domestic Partnership health benefits, is eligible for SHBP or SEHBP coverage as a dependent.
  • A copy of the New Jersey Certificate of Domestic Partnership dated prior to February 19, 2007 (or a valid certification from another State or foreign jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex domestic partners) and additional documents are required for enrollment.
  • The cost of same-sex domestic partner coverage may be subject to federal tax. See the Civil Unions and Domestic Partners Fact Sheet

Dependent Children (Children until age 26)

An eligible child is a natural, step, adopted, or foster child under age 26, no matter the child’s marital, student, or financial dependency status

  • For a natural child, a copy of the child’s birth certificate that includes the covered parent’s name is required for enrollment.
  • For a stepchild, a copy of the child’s birth certificate showing the spouse/partner’s name as a parent and a copy of marriage/partnership certificate showing the names of the employee/retiree and spouse/partner are required.
  • Foster children and children in a guardian-ward relationship under age 26 are also eligible. A copy of the child’s birth certificate and additional legal documents are required. Documents must prove the legal guardianship by the covered employee.

Coverage for an enrolled child ends on December 31 of the year that the child turns age 26. Extension of coverage may be available for over age children until age 31 and dependent over age children with disabilities or under the COBRA law.

Over Age Children until Age 31

Certain children over age 26 may be eligible for coverage until age 31 under Chapter 375. This includes a child by blood or law who is under the age of 31; is unmarried; has no dependent(s) of his or her own; lives in New Jersey or is a full-time student at an accredited public or private college or university; and is not covered in any way under a group or individual health benefits plan, church plan, or entitled to Medicare.

The covered parent or child is responsible for the entire cost of coverage. These children are not eligible for dental or vision benefits. See the Health Benefit Coverage of Children Until Age 31 Under Chapter 375 Fact Sheet

Chapter 375 application

Rates for Over Age Dependents to Age 31 Under Chapter 375 – Plan Year 2024

Over Age Children With Disabilities

A child who is not capable of self-support when he or she reaches age 26 due to a mental or physical disability may be able to continue coverage. Coverage for children with disabilities may continue only while:

  1. the parent is covered through the SHBP or SEHBP; and
  2. the child continues to be disabled;
  3. the child is unmarried; and
  4. the child remains dependent on the parent for support and maintenance.

To apply for Continued Enrollment for Dependents with Disabilities, please submit the following documents to the NJDPB:

  • A Continuance for Dependent with Disabilities form
  • A photocopy of the first page of your most recently filed tax return, listing the child as a dependent. You may black out all financial information.
  • A photocopy of your child's most recently filed tax return (if they file). Do not black out any financial information.

Applications for children born in the year in which they turn 26 are currently being accepted. Applications for future years may be submitted beginning September 1 of the year in which the child is aging off coverage due to their 26th birthday. Early submissions will not be considered.

The Parent will be contacted periodically to verify that the child remains eligible for continued coverage, and renewals will be handled directly through Horizon. See Health Benefits Coverage Continuation for Over Age Children With Disabilities to find out more.


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Last Updated: Monday, 01/08/24