Social Security Administration (SSA) Policy and Same-Sex Marriages: Part 2
In our last entry, we discussed some of the impacts that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges will have on SSA policy. We also examined some of the outstanding issues that the SSA is working to resolve as it navigates the wake of the ruling.
Today, we will briefly examine a few of the scenarios that will help determine benefit eligibility for members of married, same-sex couples.
- Income differential: if one spouse earns significantly more than the other, the lesser earning spouse may be eligible for more Social Security benefits.
- Insufficient work history: if an individual lacks sufficient work history to qualify for Medicare Part A, but has a spouse that does qualify, the former may be eligible based on the qualifying spouse’s work history.
- Paying for Medicare Part A: if one spouse qualifies for, and receives Medicare Part A benefits based on work history but the other spouse has to pay for those benefits due to insufficient work history, the paying spouse may be eligible based on the qualifying spo23use.
- Receipt of long-term care: if one spouse is receiving long-term care or support of some kind (i.e. lives in a nursing home), Medicaid allows for the spouse of the sick person to receive a portion of the latter’s savings or income before calculating what the sick person is required to pay toward his/her own care.
- Death after marriage: an individual may qualify for benefits if his/her spouse has died within 9 months of getting married.