The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Incremental Approach to Processing Claims in the Post-DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) Era
When the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), many same-sex couples and their dependents became eligible for Social Security benefits. The SSA is currently navigating and developing protocols for processing the expanded world of claims filed by same-sex couples.
Per orders, SSA employees are accepting all claims filed by same-sex couples, but have only begun processing those filed by spouses of retired workers if the same-sex couple is currently married and living in a state where same-sex marriage is legally recognized.
All those whose claims do not fall within those parameters are nevertheless encouraged to file in order to secure a filing date. However, their claims will be held until the SSA has developed instructions and procedures for processing them.
Claims filed by same-sex couples will not be denied until the Department of Justice (DOJ) reviews and approves the SSA’s instructions for processing same-sex couples’ claims. As of August 2013, these instructions were in development and had not yet been submitted for approval.