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Social Security begins processing survivor benefits for same-sex spouses

Monday, December 16, 2013

Social-Security-SSAWASHINGTON — The Social Security Administration (SSA) said Monday it has begun processing, and paying, some survivor’s benefits for married, same-sex couples.

Carolyn Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security, said the agency is processing “some widow’s and widower’s claims by surviving members of same-sex marriages and paying benefits where they are due.”

“In addition, we are able to pay some one-time lump sum death benefit claims to surviving same-sex spouses,” said Colvin.

But the SSA also noted that it is limiting payment of claims only to those who were married in a state that permits same-sex marriage, and where the surviving spouse currently resides in a state that recognizes same sex-marriage.

Couples who were married in one of the 15 states (or District of Columbia) where same-sex marriage is currently legal, but reside in another state, will have their claims held until the agency makes a final decision in their case, or obtains more guidance from the Justice Department.

The agency’s action comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that that blocked federal recognition of same-sex marriages, leading to couples being denied federal benefits.

A similar policy was announced in August relating to retirement benefits for married, same-sex couples.

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18 more reader comments:

  1. This is huge!!! Still needs expanded but this is a big step.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 9:25pm
  2. Yay! Now if they could just stop cutting the benefits for disabled people…

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 9:29pm
  3. It’s got to be expanded. How can they stipulate that gay couples can’t retire to where they want to.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 9:39pm
  4. Well…THAT didn’t take too long!! Smh

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 9:47pm
  5. Nesesito saber si hablan español

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 10:06pm
  6. Exelente lo q hasen

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 10:07pm
  7. It’s time for all states to make all marriages legal! It’s far past time…

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 10:08pm
  8. YAY!!

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 10:16pm
  9. Awesome!

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 10:18pm
  10. About time.

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 10:28pm
  11. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Now it’s time for Florida to step up fully. Does our domestic partnership count?

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 11:25pm
  12. About time! What are they going to do next? Social security for disabled couples?

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 11:28pm
  13. Awesome! Each small step forward reignites my flame of hope!

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 11:35pm
  14. MY domestic partner died 5 years ago, leaving me a widow. There are no benefits I am allowed to have from her pension of retirement via Social security & all of that. Gay marriage wasn’t in effect when she died in Calif. II am retired with health issues and live on less than $900 per month, it would have been wonderful if they would also recognize the domestic partnership widows etc as well……

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 11:37pm
  15. YES!!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 11:39pm
  16. finally, finally, finally: America the Beautiful…

    Posted on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 11:56pm
  17. found this out today,…Wow.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 12:50am
  18. Hooray, Hooray!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 1:51am