Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same-Sex Marriage

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.


77 thoughts on “Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same-Sex Marriage

      • As in a legal relationship or partnership, but not married…..kinda self explanitory…..

      • It has been stated that this decision is not into a law yet. Are these instructions a pre-signing or are they active?

        • The court can only issue opinions .
          They can not make LAWS or change them

    • In Oregon we had the RDP registered domestic partnership. You went to the county and registered your domestic partnership. We are in the process of aligning with the recent SC decision.

    • what of people who were in a same sex relationship before legal was an option? I was in one for eleven years I mean if my city didnt recognize it I dont count?

      • Thanks for your question, Rob. We continue to work closely with the Department of Justice for eligibility requirements and instructions for processing same-sex claims. In the coming weeks and months, we will develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions, and will post that information on our Same-Sex Couples web page, so stay tuned to that page. However, we encourage you to apply right away for benefits. If you disagree with our decision about your entitlement to benefits, eligibility for benefits, or payment amount, you can appeal, but it’s important to establish the date you apply for benefits.

    • Thanks Stephanie. We actively moderate the blog to make sure comments conform to our comment policy, have removed several comments today, and will continue to monitor the conversation.

      • James—
        Moderating and purging blog comments is certainly a challenging task considering, especially considering, to put it euphemistically, the “variety” of comments on this post and balancing that with SSA’s desire to promote free expression in its social media. But here’s the problem—you’re not on it fast enough and way too many comments remain that are completely irrelevant to the Deputy Commissioner’s post. All he is try to convey is that SSA is “on it”, working with DOJ, and as processes and procedures relating to married same-sex couples are established, SSA claims reps and potential SS claimants and beneficiaries will be kept informed. Now that’s a great message, which was then, and still is even as I write this comment, polluted by irrelevant references to Jesus, the Old Testament, religious battles, insulting references to “illegal aliens”, “God’s will”, and so on. If you read SSA’s own social media comment policy you will find that at least 50% of the comments currently published do not meet SSA’s social media comment standards. They have no relevance to the topic or otherwise merit being on here. I’m sure there’s a place for much of the superfluous venom on display here, but below Deputy Commissioner Walker’s blog post is not the place, even for a minute. Perhaps as part of your comment approval process you should consider evaluation before publication.

        • And…be more proactive with SSA’s social media. Surely SSA could have imagined that there would be all manner of things and commentary crawling out from under the “social media woodwork” on a subject like this. The need to monitor this post’s comments much more aggressively should have been understood from the minute it went live.

      • that’s like saying – “if you don’t like air pollution, then fdon’t pollute the air. I, on the other hand, will do my part to accelerate global climate change.”

    • If I understand you correctly, it is only B.S. because it does not involve you. If it did you might feel differently.

  1. Please remove the above abusive comments due to the following:
    ◾Personal attacks (e.g., abusive remarks);
    ◾Discriminatory language (including hate speech) about race, color, national origin, age, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), religion, disability, or other legally or agency-protected group;

  2. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Its about time that these words apply to everyone.

    • Nothing better illustrates the failure of gay rights than the experience of the Netherlands – where gay rights have gone the furthest, along with all other attacks on the family. Well, the family in the Netherlands is pretty dead, and so, too, is the Netherlands…they are being swamped by Muslims (there are areas in the Netherlands where homosexuals dare not show themselves for fear of being set upon by Islamist mobs) and fearfully hoping that at least the welfare State will last them to their graves.

      But, also, this is no longer the homosexual moment – while it appears to be striding to absolute and final victory and we’ll soon all accept it that a gay marriage is the same as a heterosexual marriage, the reality is that the moment is past. Homosexuality is a sterile, futureless activity. It leads precisely nowhere. The old, secular world which took over from Christendom is in its death throes…the only real question is what parts of the old West will be retained by the Christian remnant and which parts will be secured by resurgent Islam; and then we’ll get back to the real battle which was always there.

      • Fred,

        I have a gift for you, or anyone that agrees with you, it is in the second paragraph.

        I’m a concerned citizen, why are you so worried about homosexual people,and what they do? Have homosexuals broken up your relationships? Taken your job? Murdered your family? Taken your possessions? If not, then maybe they aren’t hurting you at all. If they aren’t hurting you at all, why are spending so much time worrying about them? They are people, just like everyone else. Like everyone else they deserve dignity.

        Maybe try going a day or two without worrying about things that don’t any effect on your life at all. Your gift will be a lot of time, where you don’t have to worry about the homosexuals any more. And time is the greatest gift of all. I hope you are able to do great things with all that free time you’ll have.

        I hope you have a pleasant day.

    • They Do ! Note the word “pursuit”. It means with effort on the part of the individual. No where is it written that it includes handouts or special privilege. People of all genders, color and backgrounds have made it in America. Greatest place on the planet.

  3. The moderator should remove comments asap which do not comply with your comment policy. Some of these comments are obviously discriminatory and offensive.

    • We agree, Barbara. We quickly removed several comments today that did not conform to our comment policy, and will continue to monitor the discussion. Thanks!

  4. I thought the supreme court function was to define a law, how do they have the authority to create law that is contrary to the existing constitution?

    • Recognition, isn’t the same as legislation. This is still a State by State issue, regardless of SCOTUS decision. We, the people, are supposed to govern. To make changes, govern we must.

      • Wait, so you’re saying the Constitution isn’t the law of the land? I believe we fought that war already. You may need to study up on your history books.

      • The Supreme court has the power to force states to comply with what they find is the law. Like it or not same sex marriage is now the law. Look at how many times people tried to change the abortion law. It is still the law and will be until the Supreme court decides otherwise.

    • You seem to be confused. The Supreme Court based its decision on the Constitution. They didn’t create anything – the right already existed. Also, the judicial branch doesn’t define laws, it interprets them.

  5. This is why the Christian faith is losing his in this country. These derogatory comments. If you really read Jesus message he was about love and doing good. He ate with the sinners not shun them. And he also warned not to judge as we will be judged with the same fotm that we do to others. You guys…. The government can do whatever they want. They are doing it anyways. What matters is how we live. We must love. Be kind. Forgive and pray for others. Be the examples for others. Then trust God to be God and to touch people’s hearts in his own time and change them. It’s not our place. God put ius here to serve as Jesus did. God handles the rest. All must pass until the end comes. Just be sure you’re one of them who’s ready. Be kind

    • Yes, His message was love. But sin is still sin, and will not be forgiven lest we repent and turn in to Him.

      • We are not the judge of sin or sinners. There is but one judge, let him do his job without anyone trying to assist him. He doesn’t need your help.

      • You and your fellow followers are welcome to do so. Those of us who don’t go to your church and who don’t believe in your god and who don’t agree with your definition of sin will go our own way.

  6. Since when have the old and new testaments of the Christian Bible been incorporated into the existing US Constitution?

    • Since it was created. That’s why our country is one nation, UNDER GOD. Although the creators and signers of both the Declaration and the Constitution were of different faiths or no faith they all agreed that this nation would only last as long as we adhered to the moral laws of God. Everything in those documents come from both old and new testaments.

  7. Bad decision by the Supreme Court results in bad public policy and further drain on the Social Security Trust. Ongoing negative consequences for our nation and the principles it was founded on.

    • Guys Gals. Lets respect !!! Now if you are on SSI or SSID and you marry a person ON the same you NO NOT get more money they take half of your money and put your spouse case You get no more money it stayes the same They say 2 can live on one

  8. Why not? We give Social Security benefits to illegal aliens. Why not add homosexual citizens to the list. America is lost.

  9. Thank you Nancy for a sane response to a volitile issue. It is not our place to judge. The Bible can be used to interpret for good or evil – justifying slavery for example, as can the Koran, – Isis terrorism for example – with many different interpretations of what is good or bad. Pray, ask for guidance and live your life the best YOU can and let God worry about the rest.

  10. The legalization of nationwide same-sex marriage is a step in the right direction. There is much more work to be done to fully realize the goal of equality for all. We must all work together to achieve this. All people deserve happiness and we are really just one large family in this country. Let’s support each other regardless of our differences. Our differences make this country great.

  11. If you don’t agree with this they call you names. I see this as legalized fraud on insurance companies, benefit programs and the Social Security Insurance System. They don’t even consummate some of these relationships. It’s “kiss me quick” and we can get spousal benefits.

    • Hi Nat,

      I hope you are having a pleasant day.

      I’m a proud american, I served my country, and I’m happy that we have the social security system that also helps serve our citizens.

      I don’t know if you are aware of these facts, but I like to share, so here goes:
      1. There are more straight people than gay.
      2. Straight and gay people are both capable of being dishonest, and taking advantage of our systems.

      With those two facts, I can draw the extremely likely conclusion, that straight people, of which I am one, are responsible for most of the SSA fraud that happens.

      Just a thought.

      Have a great day!

  12. This blog should be to discuss procedure and process. It really is not a place for socio-religio-political debates. There are many other forums for that. Marriage Equality is now the determination of the law, which the SSA must abide. Hopefully the moderator will remove all of the soapbox comments and we can move forward!

  13. This blog has become useless to those who are seeking social security benefits information.

  14. God’s word never changes and He does not either this modern bibles some of them changes the true meaning
    of what it was origionally meant to be. If some one don’t stand up for the truth and stop worrying about hurting someone little bitty feelings we all must stand before God in the end and give an account for all, when it comes down to the wire do any of us think that we will make it in
    to Heaven with the Saints, if the righteous scarely make it where will the ungodly appear?

  15. Practically speaking, where is the money to fund the traditional families in need, much less the newly formed families?

  16. What a shame!!! Yet seniors who,get a small soc sec cannot be increased up to a livable income……I do not get anywhere the 1200.00 a month into that is claimed to be the amount that everyone gets!!!!! This is a tragedy!!!

  17. In the great words of the legend Kurt Cobain, “Just because your paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Us gays are fabulously dangerous…

  18. 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

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

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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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).

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