Social Security Defines Policy for Same-Sex Married Couples—Agency Extends Benefits Broadly

Social Security Extends Benefits Broadly, Subject to Legal Constraints

Social Security has published new instructions that allow the agency to process more claims in which entitlement or eligibility is affected by a same-sex relationship. These instructions come in response to last year’s Supreme Court decision in U.S. vs. Windsor, which found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

This latest policy development lets the agency recognize some non-marital legal relationships as marriages for determining entitlement to benefits. These instructions also allow Social Security to begin processing many claims in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages or non-marital legal relationships. Social Security has consulted with the Department of Justice and determined that the Social Security Act requires the agency to follow state law in Social Security cases.  The new policy also addresses Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims based on same-sex relationships.

To learn more, please visit

Posted by Sheri Abrams, Attorney at Law,

Share this post: