LGBT Pride Month
What you need to know for same-sex couples
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states and have their marriage recognized by other states. This decision made it possible for more same-sex couples and their families to benefit from our programs.
We recognize same-sex couples’ marriages in all states, and some non-marital legal relationships (such as some civil unions and domestic partnerships), for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits, Medicare entitlement, and eligibility and payment amount for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We also recognize same-sex marriages and some non-marital legal relationships established in foreign jurisdictions for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits, Medicare entitlement, and SSI.
- Q. Do I qualify for benefits as a spouse if I am now in, or the surviving spouse of, a civil union, domestic partnership, or other non-marital legal relationship?
- A. Social Security is now processing some retirement, surviving spouse and lump-sum death payment claims for same-sex couples in non-marital legal relationships (such as some civil unions and domestic partnerships) and paying benefits where they are due. We encourage you to apply right away for benefits, even if you aren’t sure you are eligible. Applying now will protect you against the loss of any potential benefits.
Q. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is now recognizing my same-sex marriage and allowing me to file my income tax return as married filing jointly, can I have my IRMAA removed?
- A. You could be eligible for a new initial determination based on a life-changing event of marriage. You will need to provide us proof of your marriage and an estimate of what your income will be for the tax year you are requesting we use.
To report these changes in your income, you can use Form SSA-44, Medicare Part B Income-Related Premium – Life-Changing Event.
The Q&A for the month:
Question: I have a client who is 62, retired and collecting SS. If his spouse retires at 62, will she be eligible to collect 1/2 of her husband’s current benefit? Also, can she then claim her benefit at full retirement age?
Answer: No, she cannot file just as a spouse. She must file for retirement on her own record first and then, if her full benefit (not what she’s receiving at 62) is less than half of her spouse’s full benefit amount (not what spouse is receiving), she can file for additional spouse’s benefits. If she files at 62, both her retirement and additional spouse’s benefit will be reduced. She cannot JUST file for spouse’s, allowing her own to grow. That is an option only available to those born before 1/2/1954. https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/applying6.html