New Fact Sheet: New Guidance on Spousal & Survival Benefits for Married LGBT Individuals

On March 1, 2017 the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it would reopen its decisions to deny spousal or survivor’s benefits to individuals who had been married to someone of the same sex, and whose marriage wasn’t recognized because of a discriminatory state or federal ban on marriage.

This ruling and policy applies not only to individuals who were denied benefits after the Supreme Court struck down federal discrimination against same-sex spouses (in United States v. Windsor in 2013) and state discrimination (in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015), but also to individuals who applied for and did not receive benefits before these Supreme Court decisions because of the discriminatory laws in effect at the time they applied.

A new Fact Sheet on this guidance includes more detailed information about who is affected by the new guidance, who isn’t, and what advocates and their clients should do to get their cases reopened.

This fact sheet was authored in collaboration with our partners at SAGE, Lambda Legal, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

About Katrina Cohens

Katrina Cohens is based in Justice in Aging’s Washington, DC office and serves as the Database Manager.