The Social Security Administration announced good news last week to people currently receiving government benefits. In a move to comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding same-sex couples, the administration has announced that it has started processing the first same-sex-couple benefit requests. While this only appears to be applying to retirement benefits at this time, the administration says that it will develop and implement additional policies in the upcoming months to hopefully accommodate other benefits as well.
While same-sex marriage is not yet recognized here in Illinois, the federal government does now after the DOMA decision, which provides government benefits to same-sex couples across the nation. While the marriage may not be recognized here, same-sex couples will still be able to apply for benefits. For couples where one or both spouses have a disability, this may mean increased benefits. For same-sex parents with children who have disabilities, this may mean changes to Supplemental Security Income payments now that both parent’s incomes will be considered.
But just like with the backlog, current applicants will need to remember to be patient as this process could take months to sort out. With so many policies changing, this could also mean that legitimate claims could get denied. While some may not require legal action, others could, which means applicants may want to seek help from an experienced attorney. This may also be necessary for those currently receiving benefits as well, especially if it comes to your attention that your benefits should be affected by the DOMA decision but have not been changed. Getting the help from a lawyer in a situation such as this can also be beneficial by getting you the benefits you deserve.
Source: The Washington Post, “Social Security Administration now processing same-sex marriage benefit claims,” Eric Yoder, Aug. 12, 2013