December 14, 2018

SAME SEX MARRIAGE AND SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal discrimination against same-sex spouses, then in 2015, it struck down state marriage bans on same sex marriage. Before the Supreme Court rulings, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied spousal and survivors benefits to same-sex spouses.

IF YOU ARE IN A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, OR IF YOUR SPOUSE PASSED AWAY, THE TIME TO FILE FOR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS IS NOW

We strongly recommend that anyone in a same-sex marriage, who did not submit applications for spousal or survivors benefits before the Supreme Court decisions because they either did not believe they were entitled to them or because the SSA discouraged them from filing, to file immediately.

If you had filed but were denied benefits due to non-recognition of a same sex marriage, you will generally be allowed to reopen the denial based upon these Supreme Court rulings.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

Spousal benefits allow a husband or wife to receive up to 50% of a spouse’s Social Security benefits.  The one claiming spousal benefits must be age 62 or older. His or her spouse must be eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits.

A widow or widower 60 or older (50 or older if disabled) is eligible for survivor benefits if you were married at least nine months. However, there’s no age limit if you’re caring for dependent children under age 16. Your children also would receive 75% of their father’s benefit through age 18 (or older if disabled) as long as they are unmarried. They can collect until age 19 if attending elementary or secondary school full-time.

If you have any questions or need assistance with your appeal, call an experienced Social Security attorney. If you live in South Florida, call our office at 305-653-5555.