General, Retirement, SSI, Survivors

Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same-Sex Marriage

July 9, 2015 • By

Reading Time: 1 Minute

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. Jim

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

    • Margaret

      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.

  2. Nancy

    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.

      • Mike S.

        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.

        • Leroy

          This is true. We are all sinners and most of us still go to church with no real plans to change. So what difference does it make whether you are a liar or a …whatever. And even tho’ the old testament calls the gay lifestyle an abomination we are not under the old law any more…. right?

      • Jim S.

        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.

    • Paul

      Ty nancy.

  3. Pat

    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.

      • Shaun

        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.

      • Mike S.

        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.

    • Shaun

      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.

  4. Barbara V.

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

    • Fred

      Why are you discriminating against my comments? Don’t be so intolerant!


        The Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination to God. Furthermore, if only the same sex were to have relations, the human would soon find itself extinct. I support and defend the U S Constitution since I took that oath in 1976, that includes free speech… Which by the way, isn’t free.

    • James L.

      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!

  5. Shane

    “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.

    • Fred

      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.

      • Andrew


        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.

        • Paul

          Well said Andrew

          • Christina

            I feel unhappy and I need counseling for death of husband, Titus who died two months ago.

    • lilly

      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.

    • Chip C.

      That is quoted with a bent toward righteous living, not to mean anything goes. If a person enjoys shoplifting should we make amends for him? Pedophilia if consentual by both parties? Polygamy? Bigamy? Etc. The pursuit of happiness is not a licence for this behavior regardless of the idiotic supreme court ruling.

  6. Erin

    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;

    • Karl

      Please appreciate freedom of speech.

    • Hugh

      Progress comes from dissent.

    • James L.

      Erin, thanks for helping us remind our readers of our comment policy. We’ll continue to watch the conversation and remove comments that do not conform to the policy.

      • Leroy

        In other words if you disagree with this ruling….keep it to yourself …right?
        Anyone remember why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed?

        • I've r.

          Anyone remember how Lot’s daughters got pregnant? Incest OK, but not an unrelated couple?

    • Brain

      Is calling BS hatefull?

  7. big d.

    I think this whole same-sex thing is just a whole lot of B. S.

    • Aging e.

      I encourage you not to engage in a same sex relationship then

      • Fred

        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.”

    • Wayne

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

  8. Stephanie

    Is there a way to flag/report comments on the blog? Thanks.

    • James L.

      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.

      • Bob G.

        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.

        • Bob G.

          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.

  9. David

    What in heck is “a non-marital legal same-sex relationship”?

    • Rachel G.

      It’s a civil union or domestic partnership.

      • tom

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

      • Lee C.

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

        • Vernon

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

      • Oregon B.

        In Oregon we created the RDP registered domestic partnership. You went to the county courthouse and registered your domestic partnership. We are now in the process of aligning with the SC decision. I believe due to the lack of definition given by the SC I will be able to marry my Male dog now. I am complete.

    • calvin

      It’s nothing in GODS vew its a abomination

    • Oregon B.

      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.

    • Rob

      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?

      • Lorenzo D.

        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.

  10. James S.

    It is a shame that our country has come to this. I am sure that God is not happy with the degradation of our morals in this country. Our country calls good something he calls an abomination.

    • Rachel G.

      You really think name calling is appropriate?

    • Steve

      Read Matthew 7:12

      We might not like what the Supreme Court did, and I certainly am not in favor of people going against God’s law.

      However, they are still sinners as we are, and should not be treated in a hateful way. What you should be doing for them and our country, is praying. If you’re going to quote scripture, you’re going to be judged by Scripture. (See 2 Timothy 3:15-16) The Lord is going to judge every word you say, and every word that you don’t say.

      If you are a Christian, and that’s an if for me, because I don’t know if you are. Only the Holy Spirit and you know. You should have a more loving attitude toward those who are not saved, in the hopes of bringing some to heaven with you.

      Unless you are saved, and happy going to heaven all by yourself.

      If you are a Christian, and non-christians are reading this, then you have disgraced the Christian faith and should seek forgiveness from the Lord and from your fellow man.

      You may not like what they do, but you should still love them. That’s what Jesus would do.

      • Ricirish

        I think Matthew 7:11 is a little better for you Steve.

      • Reynaldo A.

        What if you are NOT a Christian: this blog is not a religious forum. And I don’t care what a Bible, Quran, Torah, or other religious book says: I go for facts, not fiction.

    • Bill

      Less ye Judge, less ye be judged!
      How about you worry about your own reward after death. Let others worry about their’s!

      • Fred

        Keep reading the passage, Bill. It goes onto say, once you have evaluated your own station and repented, *then* you are in a position to assess (judge) how to respond to others’ issues. Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “don’t judge.” By the way, I tell folks the KJV is a great book for 350 year-old people. For everyone else, there’s the modern translations: NIV, NASB, etc. Feel free to join the 21st century when you’re ready.

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