How Does Same Sex Marriage Affect My Spouse’s Entitlement To Benefits?

In June 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states and that the marriage would be recognized. They ended the debate or whether same-sex marriage was legal, giving homosexual couples the same rights that had been afforded to heterosexual couples for decades.

Among all other legal rights given, same sex couples could now qualify to receive Social Security benefits for themselves and their family from their spouse. Upon the passing of the legalization of same-sex marriage, the Social Security Administration encouraged all same sex couples who believe they might qualify for benefits to apply immediately, so as not to lose any more time. If you are a same-sex couple, the benefits you are eligible for are the same as if you were a heterosexual couple; you can now qualify for survivor benefits, retirement benefits, or disability benefits.

The benefits that you are eligible to receive would depend on the earnings of your spouse, and it would be a percentage of their Social Security amount. It is also important to note that if you remarry before you are 60 years of age, you will no longer be able to receive benefits. Any remarriage after 60, however, still allows you to qualify for benefits from your deceased spouse.

The Social Security Administration also recognizes some non-marital legal relationships, such as civil unions and domestic partnerships, for the purposes of determining some benefits as well.

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