Can Same-Sex Couples Collect Social Security Benefits?

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced that his administration would continue to fight to extend federal benefits and obligations to same-sex couples.

During a press conference, Obama announced that he would urge Congress to pass legislation needed to change some provisions for federal benefits to apply to same-sex married couples, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The announcement was made after a yearlong review of regulations following the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to legally married gay couples.

According to the Journal, the Justice Department has been consulting with attorneys from various government agencies including the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine if legal barriers exist that would deny extending benefits to same-sex couples.

In a memo, Attorney General Eric Holder said that impediments in statutes governing only two agencies, the SSA and the Department of Veterans Affairs, exist.

The memo reportedly said that same-sex spouses can receive full benefits from those agencies if they live in states that recognize their marriages, and that those who reside in “nonrecognition” states are eligible only for a few.

“We knew that the two that would be the most vexing are the VA and the Social Security Administration, because there is language embedded in the statutes that founded them specific references to marriage being defined by where the person dwells, rather than being silent,” an Obama administration official said, according to the Journal.

The administration said that it would seek to pass legislation that could fix the provisions that preclude same-sex married couples from receiving some federal benefits. Additionally, it said that the SSA would “use what discretion it has to process applications in a way that favors same-sex couples.”

Can I Collect Social Security Benefits If I Am Gay?

If you are gay, and you live in a ”nonrecognition” state and would like to apply for SSA widow or death benefits, the SSA will retroactively pay benefits based on the date of your application if there is a delay over language provisions.

If you ever have questions about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you should contact our attorney today who can help you through the application process.

If you think that you may be eligible for disability benefits, you should contact a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. Call our office at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys


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