General, Retirement, SSI, Survivors

Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same-Sex Marriage

July 9, 2015 • By

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Last Updated: August 19, 2021

Court gravel laying in front of a rainbow flagOn June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states. As a result, more same-sex couples will be recognized as married for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits or eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

Since a previous Supreme Court decision in 2013, the Social Security Administration has been able to recognize some same-sex marriages and non-marital legal same-sex relationships for purposes of determining entitlement to or eligibility for benefits. We also consider same-sex marriage when processing claims for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Marriage may affect your SSI eligibility or payment amount.

We’re working closely with the Department of Justice to develop and implement policy and processing instructions to implement the June 26, 2015 Supreme Court decision. As we have additional information, we’ll update our website and issue instructions to our staff.

In the meantime, if you’re a spouse, divorced spouse, or surviving spouse of a same-sex marriage or non-marital legal same-sex relationship, we encourage you to apply right away for benefits. Applying now will preserve your filing date, which will protect you against the loss of any potential benefits.

For other helpful information on how same-sex marriage may affect your claim, please visit our Same-Sex Couples web page. If you have any questions about how to apply for benefits, call toll-free 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). We can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday. We treat all calls confidentially.

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About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. Reynaldo A.

    While South Carolina was one of the last states to recognize same-sex marriage (it didn’t do so until November, 2013), it does recognize common law marriage and has for a long time. In fact a common law marriage in this state can be established in one day. My partner and I had a relationship for over four years until he died in March, 2012. My hope is that SSA will recognize this and upgrade my existing disability benefits based on the disability records of my late partner (he was receiving SSDI benefits that were double my monthly amount).

  2. Chloe M.

    Wow, I believe it must have raised a hot topic around the whole world.

  3. Daniel

    From 9 members of US SCourt – 4 were against!!!

  4. Ryan

    I am stunned at the hate and venom being spewed on this site for what should be a victory for the recognition and advancement of all human society – equality. To refer to it as “special” rights or handouts, is to compare what the US government gives to those who serve their country. You make a mockery of true entitlements.
    Why are so many of these abusive and discriminatory comments allowed to remain here? The kind of language (hate speech) many espouse here only sows the seeds of violence and murder – nothing that God approves of. If anyone needs to be repentant, it’s the hateful, overzealous bigots, not the homosexuals. If you believe in God, then you know that we are all made in God’s image. So stop the violence and murder. Smile on your brothers and sisters, cease your fear, hatred and judgment, and trust in the Word.

  5. Alisa

    this is NOT a THEROCRACY nor a CHRISTIAN NATION…..we are talking about CIVIL MARRIAGE not HOLY MATRIMONY ….in the country we do NOT rule by religion, but with a CONSTITUTION….STOP PREACHING….religion is a CHOICE as is a religious ceremony.

  6. sam

    it is all the way of b.s.,with plame to authority in a decent country country

  7. mikey

    This seems to be more of a loss to morality than a victory for rights.

    Setting same sex marriage policies that deny by definition a child a father or mother is denial of family.

    Read through the responses here and you will see the attacks on people that do not agree with the 5-4 decision, but firmly believe the opinion of the 4 minority judges.

    Tolerance?? Now one is subject to attack if they have a moral standard that disagree with your immoral practices. Rather sad, or is the meaning of that word going to change too like gay and marriage?

  8. Marvin

    The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is 1 man and 1 woman as ordained by God – and man cannot change it.

    Aren’t you glad your parents believed this

    • Reynaldo A.

      We’re not talking about “Holy Matrimony:” we’re talking about the legal status of marriage.

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