Saturday, June 21, 2014

Same-Sex Couples to Get More Federal Benefits, but not All

WSJ: Same-Sex Couples to Get More Benefits

The Obama administration announced Friday the extension of more benefits and obligations to same-sex married couples, including plans to allow workers nationwide to take leave from their jobs to care for same-sex spouses.

The White House also is expected to press Congress to pass legislation needed to change some provisions, such as Social Security benefits, to apply to same-sex married couples.


During the past year, Justice Department attorneys have consulted with the general counsels of federal agencies to see whether legal barriers remain to extending benefits to same-sex spouses.

In a memo to the president, Mr. Holder will report that they found such impediments in the statutes governing only two agencies: the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, an administration official said Thursday.


While same-sex spouses can receive full benefits from those agencies if they live in states that recognize their marriages, those who reside in "nonrecognition" states are eligible only for a few.


"We knew that the two that would be the most vexing are the VA and the Social Security Administration, because there is language embedded in the statutes that founded them specific references to marriage being defined by where the person dwells, rather than being silent," the official said.

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