Social Security and Same Sex Marriage: What You Need to Know

In its Obergefell v. Hodges decision, the U.S. Supreme Court found that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, and mandated that all 50 states recognize same sex marriage.  This historic decision has also led to changes in Social Security benefit eligibility.  Immediately after the Obergefell decision was issued, the Social Security Administration announced that it would be recognizing same sex marriages, and would begin implementing policies and procedures for the processing of same sex claims.  As these policies develop, McCroskey Law will provide updates.

Some same sex spouses may now be eligible for Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits.  Here are some things to know now:
  • If approved, many benefits are paid from the date of application.  A delay in applying can mean missed benefits.
  • Same sex spouses may now be eligible for an increase in Social Security retirement benefits, if their spouse earned a significantly higher income.
  • Same sex spouses with insufficient work history to qualify for Medicare Part A may now qualify for coverage under their spouse's account.
  • If a spouse is a nursing care facility, or receives long-term care, a same sex spouse may now be eligible for Medicaid assistance.  (Medicaid allows a disabled person to allocate a significant amount of assets to a spouse, before determining eligibility and coverage.)
  • If a same sex married couple is married for at least nine months before a spouse passes away, the widow or widower may be entitled to Social Security survivors benefits.

If you have questions about your entitlement to Social Security benefits, contact McCroskey Law today.  We are available to answer your questions at any of our three offices throughout Michigan.  We look forward to speaking with you.

Thanks to NOSSCR and Justice in Aging for this helpful information.