Social Security’s Commitment to the LGBTQI+ CommunityReading Time: 2 Minutes
Last Updated: June 22, 2023
Every June, we commemorate Pride Month by honoring the LGBTQI+ community and celebrating diversity, love, and equality.
Pride Month is also a perfect time to learn more about LGBTQI+ rights. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. The Obergefell decision allows more same-sex couples and their families to benefit from our programs.
We recognize same-sex couples’ marriages in all states, and certain non-marital legal relationships (such as some civil unions and domestic partnerships). This recognition is important when determining entitlement to benefits.
Here are five things you should know about our benefits for same-sex couples:
- Marital status is important — A member of a same-sex couple may be entitled to benefits when a spouse receives retirement or disability benefits, or dies. We also consider marital status when we determine eligibility and payment amount for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- You can receive different types of benefits — Social Security taxes pay for three kinds of benefits: retirement, disability, and survivors. If you’re entitled to benefits, your spouse and eligible family members might receive benefits, too.
- Children may receive benefits — Your children or stepchildren could also be entitled to benefits.
- When you apply for benefits is important — If you’re married or have entered a non-marital legal relationship, we encourage you to apply right away, even if you’re not sure you’re eligible. Applying now may protect you against the loss of any potential benefits.
- If you already receive Social Security benefits or SSI, report life changes right away — You should let us know immediately if you move, marry, separate, divorce, or become the parent of a child. Don’t wait until we review your benefits to tell us about any changes. You should report changes right away, so your benefits are paid correctly.
For more information, please visit our webpage for same-sex couples. You can also read our publication What Same-Sex Couples Need to Know. Please share this information with your friends and family – and post it on social media.
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