After the fall of California’s Proposition 8 and the Supreme Court of the United States’ determination that certain provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are unconstitutional, both the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the United States Department of Defense (DOD) announced plans to extend benefits to same sex spouses.
The SSA released a press release on July 17, 2013 encouraging “individuals who believe they may be eligible for Social Security benefits to apply now, to protect against the loss of any potential benefits.” In its press release, the SSA states, “We will move swiftly to process claims [for same sex couples] once we have finalized instructions for our personnel.”
Further, the DOD released a news release on August 14, 2013 stating that the organization “will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate.” Benefits from the DOD include TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing (BAH) and family separation allowance.
If you believe you may be eligible for benefits from the SSA or DOD, you should apply as soon as possible. It is important to preserve your SSA filing date, which the SSA states it uses to determine the start of potential benefits. Also, the DOD confirmed that certain benefits are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision, and that benefits are retroactive to the date of marriage for same sex spouses married after June 26, 2013.
The full press release by the SSA on July 17, 2013 can be read here: SSA July 17, 2013 Press Release. The full news release by the DOD on August 14, 2013 can be read here: DOD August 14, 2013 News Release.
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