Social Security Issues New Rules For Same-Sex Couples
In late 2013 and early 2014, Social Security issued new rules addressing same-sex couples. These rules were issued in response to the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Windsor, which found portions of the DOMA unconstitutional.
In December, 2013, the Social Security Administration began issuing benefits on some same-sex widow's and widower's claims for survivor benefits. Some claimants also became eligible for the lump sum death benefit. In order to receive survivor benefits or lump sum death benefits, a claimant must have proof that they were:
- Married in a state that permits same-sex marriage; and
- At the time of application, the claimant was legally domiciled in a state that permits same-sex marriage.
In January, 2014, Social Security changed the SSI eligibility rules to address same-sex marriages. SSI eligibility is based, in part, on household assets and financial resources. At this time, Social Security will consider same-sex marriages when determining SSI non-medical eligibility and payment amounts in some claims. Again, this rule does not apply to claimants living in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.
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At the present time, the State of Michigan does not recognize same-sex marriage, although the issue is currently before a federal judge. At McCroskey Law, we will continue to monitor this issue, so we can advise our clients of their changing rights.