Social Security Administration Begins Processing Claims for Same-Sex Surviving Spouses

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has begun processing benefits claims for surviving spouses of same-sex marriages.

On December 16, 2013, the SSA released a statement from Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin confirming that such claims had begun to enter processing that same day. Claims from widows and widowers of legally-married, same-sex couples were being processed, as were one-time, lump-sum death benefit claims.

Colvin asked the public for “continued patience” while policies concerning same-sex couples are developed and implemented.

In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the section of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to same-sex couples who were legally married under state laws.

Since then, various federal agencies have been hashing out exactly how to rework policies to reflect the ruling. The SSA encourages those who believe they may be eligible for benefits to apply as soon as possible in order to protect against the loss of potential benefits.

Contact an estate planning lawyer at the Hook Law Center.