Social Security Benefits and Same-Sex Marriage

In U.S. v. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2013 that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional insofar as it prohibits federal agencies such as the Social Security Administration from considering the claims of same-sex couples. As a result, the Social Security Administration over the last year has rolled out regulations to allow it to approve claims and appeals of spouses who are in same-sex marriages or other legally recognized same-sex relationships. These claims for benefits with the Social Security Administration apply most typically in applications for retirement, surviving spouse, and lump-sum death payments. Same- sex marriages can also be considered by SSA in reducing or deeming income from individuals applying for SSI benefits. SSA has encouraged individuals to apply for benefits right away if they think they would be eligible for benefits based on same sex marriage. The following factors must be met before a claim will be approved.

  1. The applicant must have been married in a state that permits same-sex marriage; and
  2. The applicant must reside, at the time of application or while a claim in pending final determination, in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.

For California residents, the dates that same-sex marriages from any other state was recognized are June 17, 2008 to November 4, 2008; and June 26, 2013 to the present. These are the also the dates that same sex marriages were permitted in the state. For Hawaii residents, the dates that same-sex marriages from any other state were recognized are from December 2, 2013 to the present.

If you are in a same sex marriage or relationship and have any questions about eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, you will want to consult with an experienced attorney. Call LaPorte Law Firm at 800-735-3425 to learn how we can help you.

Social Security Administration, Program Operations Manual System (POMS), GN 00210.100 Same-Sex Marriage - Benefits for Aged Spouses.

Source: The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration