Monday, August 12, 2013

Why it matters: legal spouses still denied federal benefits

From Think Progress
The Social Security Administration announced on Friday that it will begin offering partner benefits to same-sex couples, but in a limited capacity, adding that it has additional “policy and processing instructions” to develop over the coming months. As BuzzFeed reports, however, the benefits will not be applied as consistently as some other federal benefits have been made available to same-sex couples since the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. 
For now at least, only married same-sex couples who live in a state that recognizes their marriages will be eligible to receive the Social Security spousal benefit. This is inconsistent with other benefits, such asrecognition for immigration purposes, which rely entirely on “place of celebration.” In other words, a same-sex couple could marry in Minnesota and move next door to North Dakota, and one spouse could still sponsor the other for a green card, but that spouse couldn’t receive spousal Social Security benefits because they’re in a state without marriage equality.
The solution is that for all Federal Benefits to depend on whether the marriage was legally performed in the state where it was celebrated, and not tie to to the domicile of the couple.  Either that or all gay people will have to  leave the States of Hate.

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