Expansion of Social Security Benefits for Same-Sex Couples
Ever since the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have been working to write and publish regulations governing the payment of benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
In 2013, the SSA began processing retirement benefit claims for eligible same-sex couples. Most recently, it has begun processing Surviving Spouse and Lump Sum Death Payments (LSDP) for married same-sex couples provided the wage-earner was living in a state that legally recognizes same-sex marriage when he or she died.
The SSA and DOJ are still working on regulations regarding same-sex couples who married in a state that legally recognized same-sex marriage but in which the wage-earner was living in a state that did not legally recognize same-sex marriage when he or she died.
The SSA is currently accepting all claims from same-sex couples in all circumstances. Claims for which regulations have been written will be processed and all others will be held until proper processing instructions have been developed.