Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same-Sex Marriage
Last Updated: August 19, 2021
On 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.