Saturday, June 28, 2014
Approximately one year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. The court’s recognition of marriage equality has transformed life for many same-sex couples. The DOMA ruling has allowed many couples to receive spousal benefits from Social Security and Medicare.
Since the ruling, Social Security and Medicare have made changes that benefit same-sex married couples. However, complications have arisen.
While the Social Security Administration is processing spousal and survivor claims for benefits in states recognizing same-sex marriage, the Obama Administration believes amendments to the Social Security Act are needed so that the SSA can form a legal basis to recognize marriages regardless of where a couple lives. Experts advise same-sex couples to file for Social Security. This could qualify couples to receive retroactive benefits if the state of residence issue is resolved.
In states recognizing same-sex marriage, spouses are eligible for all of Medicare’s benefits. People living in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, but were married elsewhere, have access to the benefits with one caveat: You cannot get premium free Part A based on your spouse’s work history unless you are in a civil union or domestic partnership and living in a state that recognizes inheritance rights.
See Mark Miller, Retirement and Same-Sex Couples, A Year After DOMA Ruling, Reuters, June 26, 2014.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.