The Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges held that same-sex couples could marry and have their marriage recognized by all states. This action, in turn, set other actions in motion. For example, spouses in a same-sex marriage now are eligible for certain benefits previously offered only to couples of the opposite sex.
Why does marital status matter?
Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in 2015, most states did not recognize gay marriage as a legal relationship. State-wide benefits traditionally offered to married couples were not accessible to same-sex partnerships in states that did not recognize gay marriage. People who married in states friendly to same-sex couples still faced an uphill battle when it came to federal benefits.
Where does Social Security fit in?
Social Security benefits come from the federal government, not state or local governments, and generally, abide by federal law. Acceptance of gay marriage opened the doors to benefits previously out of reach.
Now, people in a same-sex marriage may apply for and receive the following benefits, if qualified:
- Retirement. Social Security retirement benefits are accessible by same-sex spouses and other eligible family members.
- Disabilities. Benefits like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may also be granted to qualified family members of parties in a same-sex marriage.
- Beneficiary Survivors. Previously, a surviving member of a gay marriage was not considered eligible for survivor’s benefits. As long as the couple are in a legal marriage, the same-sex spouse typically receives survivor benefit payments.
- Children of Beneficiaries. The children and step-children of parties in same-sex marriages may be qualified to receive benefits.
As with any beneficiary of Social Security benefits, it’s crucial to report changes in status to the Social Security Administration as soon as possible. Failing to keep them informed could lead to
Spouses in Same-Sex Marriages May Be Eligible for Social Security Benefits.
When applying for Social Security benefits, it helps to have someone in your corner. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have the experience and ability to take on your case. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. We assist clients throughout Southern California from our home office in Anaheim.