The Social Security Administration has issues new rules to to govern received retirement and survivor benefits for same same sex couples across the united states. The new instructions allow for recognition of some non-marital, but legal relationships as marriages in order to determine eligibility for issue of appropriate benefits.
the rules would also provide a framework for effective processing claims in states where same sex unions, and non-marital relationships are still not recognized by the local government. The Social Security Administration has also issued a fact sheet for the public to help with any questions related to the new rules.
the rules come after the United States Supreme Court ruled that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional in June of 2013. This freed the Social Security Administration to recognize same-sex marriages and legal relationships for purposes of issuing retirement and survivor benefits to same sex couples. The Social Security administration has already begun the process of paying out held-up benefits payments to couples who meet other eligibility guidelines.
In some cases, the benefits go beyond retirement and survivor benefits. The SSA is also issuing Supplemental Security Income entitlements. Couples who are already receiving supplemental security income, must notify the SSA of their marriage status. The notification would likely affect their eligibility, or even payment amounts.
The Social Security Administration has issued a statement expressing that although this is one step towards granting equal benefits to same-sex couples, that in the coming months, it will “continue to work with the Department of Justice…will develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions.” For additional questions the SSA has provided a toll free number 1-800-772-1213, or has asked applicant to visit its online application or a local SSA office.
If you have yet to apply for SSA benefits, you can visit the Social Security Administration Apply Now page.