The Huffington Post reported last week that 38 Senators and 83 Representatives from Congress sent a letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) detailing their frustrations with the agency’s treatment of same-sex individuals.
The group, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Mark Takano, says the SSA is wrong in its attempt to seek money from legally married gay and lesbian couples who received incorrect payments for benefits following the Supreme Court’s take down of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.
After DOMA was overturned, the SSA continued to treat many people in same-sex marriages as single individuals, resulting in higher benefit payouts, according to the Post. As a result, the SSA has responded by demanding the money back.
Some individuals have allegedly received letters from the SSA informing them that they received thousands of dollars in overpayments. “SSA should not penalize people who are poor, elderly or disabled because SSA continued issuing benefits to these married individuals as though they were single,” the letter reads. “According to SSA’s statute and regulations, SSA shall avoid penalizing an individual for overpayment if the individual is without fault and if recovery of the overpayment would be against equity and good conscience.”
The letter goes on to ask the agency to count how many people in same-sex marriages it has charged with overpayments and asks what it will do to change its system. Continue to follow our Social Security blog and we will update you if the agency responds to the letter or changes its policies regarding the alleged overpayments.
Collecting Social Security Benefits as a Same-Sex Couple
As we noted in this September blog, because of recent legislative changes, same-sex couples living in states where their unions were not previously recognized can collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
If you have questions about this, our Tulsa Social Security attorneys offer free consultations and may be able to provide you with answers. You can reach us directly by calling the number located on this page or by filling out the case review form.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys