What Same-Sex Couples Need to Know

two women and a baby playing blocksFor more than 80 years, Social Security has helped secure today and tomorrow for many Americans.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states.

Social Security recognizes same-sex couples’ marriages in all states, and some non-marital legal relationships (such as some  civil unions and domestic partnerships), for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits, Medicare entitlement, and eligibility and payment amount for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Here are five things you should know about our benefits for same-sex couples:

  1. Marital status is important — same-sex couple can receive Social Security benefits when a worker retires, becomes disabled, or dies. We also consider marital status when we determine eligibility and payment amount for Supplemental Security Income.
  2. What type of benefits can you receive — 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.
  3. Children may receive benefits — your children or stepchildren could also be entitled to benefits.
  4. 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 will protect you against the loss of any potential benefits.
  5. 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 benefits are paid correctly.

For more information, please visit our website for same-sex couples. You can also read our publication What Same-Sex Couples Need to Know.

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36 thoughts on “What Same-Sex Couples Need to Know

      • Yes i can help you understand.it’s mean.GOD can speak for the he’s people because we the people.not the government.in GOD we trust.

        • You’re still not making any sense, Lesly. Whose god are you talking about? And what does this have to do with article?

          • Our blog — Social Security Matters — gives readers information about a variety of topics, including our programs, online services, current events, and human-interest stories, usually in greater detail than typically shared on our other social media platforms. Our blog encourages discussion and offers important retirement and disability-related solutions. Please be aware that our official agency responses will always include the Social Security Administration (SSA) seal, and that we have an official social media team dedicated to posting messages and responses to customer inquiries or comments that specifically address SSA issues. While we welcome general participation from all of our followers, we ask all participants to please be considerate and polite to others when posting comments. Thank you for your support and for using our blog.

        • First of all “GOD” the name was made up from a WHITE man! If you are so religious, you would have referred to him by his REAL NAME! You didn’t, therefore, you look as stupid as you sound! Before you begin to make stupid remarks about things you have no idea about, PLEASE make sure you have ALL of the facts! After all, Christianity was established by the WHITE man for black folks. I could probably school you on A LOT but I don’t have the time nor the energy! I am in NO WAY trying to be hateful, but ppl REALLY should ZIP IT if they don’t know what they’re talking about! IJS!

        • Your comment reads loud and clear …you obviously are ill educatated and need to keep quite..especially if you cant proof read!

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this posting. I will spread the word to friends and relatives that Social Security is on our side.

    • Yes my friend i am who i am.human come first.not ssa we in the same boat on hearth my friend.may God blessing all.

  2. Pulse Nightclub & Human Rights Campaign v. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Social Security Programs et al

    $43 billion total HUD outlays FY 18 to stabilize the HUD budget after losing the $38.8 billion FY 15 claim to be the only answer OMB ever got right.

    Any planned increases of HUD rates from 30% to 35% of income are interpreted as a terrorist attempt to break the economic law and are overruled.

    The US must pay $1 million to instantly compensate the surviving victims and families of those who died in the Pulse Nightclub congressional shooting about $5,000 now that Ben Carson’s terrorism insurance is immune from being sued for civil redress for the homophobic gunman for hire propaganda exhibited in his book on the Constitution.

    The FY 18 HUD Budget claims to provide over $35.2 billion for the Department’s rental assistance programs., but does not immediately explain how much of this is paid by tenants, some of whom face an illegal rate increase to 35% of income from 30%. HUD budgets have the burden of proving how many and how much in-kind welfare benefits their programs administrates to the landlords of beneficiaries. An increase in the tenant contribution toward rent from 30 percent of adjusted income to up to 35 percent of gross income (i.e., income adjusted by exclusions but not deductions) is hereby overruled to prevent the economic law from being broken. Hardship exemptions, as defined by the Secretary, will be available for tenants. The Department will implement this provision as a pilot in PBRA, 202, and 811 in 2018; it does not plan to implement this in the Public Housing or HCV programs in 2018. Establishing minimum tenant rental payments of $50 per month, with hardship exemptions. For PBRA/202/811: A one-year freeze on annual rent adjustment increases. These changes will result in increased rents for many HUD-supported residents, and HUD recognizes that this will present difficulties for many families. Raising the tenant contributions on the basis of faulty accounting is a terrorist policy that affects the conduct of the Government by coercion under 31CFR§50.5 and deprivation of relief benefits under 18USC246. This is not Carson’s first terrorist offense. Carson has a history of being paid to promote lethal propaganda, for instance his unprofessional book on the Constitution, that doesn’t cite any caselaw, took so much money from the second amendment, homophobic lobby, we pray to surgically remove the pre-cancerous extra reproductive organs found in XXX, XXY and XYY types, that he discriminated against the absolute contraindication of Warfarin (Coumadin) and estrogen component of the Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for the Male -to-Female (MTF) types who owes $1 million to start the Pulse Nightclub v. Human Rights Campaign settlement at $5,000 per surviving victim or family of the deceased. The FY 18 plan to increase rental payments must be overruled as deprivation of relief benefits under 18USC§246. Carson’s FY18 budget is overruled in both fact and law, like the recidivist medical resident hours in excess of 60 per week.

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was created at the end of the Great Depression in the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 shortly after the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was created in 1934 to give homebuyers access to reasonably priced mortgages under fair terms. The Department of Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 created HUD as Cabinet-level agency. HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.

    When Suan Donovan was promoted from HUD Secretary to OMB Director FY15 there was a precise $38,088 million spending agreement between the HUD FY 15 Congressional Budget Justification and OMB, furthermore HUD public housing benefit spending increased to $20 billion. This was the only agreement between a Cabinet agency congressional budget request and OMB Outlay by Agency Table 4.1, maybe ever. Subsequently, however, the $38 billion figure was reduced to $35.5 billion, and was shifted from FY 16 to FY 17 to have a feast after a famine that never happened. To comply with the President’s $40.7 billion FY18 estimate the Secretary did not add the totals correctly.

    Ben Carson has experimentally eliminated mandatory loan program expenses but is making a criminal error to reduce Public and Indian Housing spending by -3% when in-kind welfare programs should grow 3% annually. Whereas the FY 18 HUD budget is about 64% public housing the HUD budget should grow an average of 2.8% annually from the agreed upon $38 billion figure FY15 as a guide for stabilizing HUD outlays. Carson seems to make a $1.2 billion addition error regarding FY18 outlays trying to comply with the President’s $40.7 billion FY 18 estimate, down from his high estimate of $46.9 billion FY17. If public housing were to grow 3% from FY 17 total spending would be $43,738 million FY 18. This is however more than 2.8% from $38 billion FY 15 and now that HUD is trying to stabilize budget estimates, it is necessary that welfare beneficiaries share in the cuts, but -3% is terrorist, zero growth is $42,918 million FY 2018. HUD cannot continue to cheat at the math to barely comply with the President’s nearly accurate $40.7 billion estimate. HUD ensures their good work making mandatory loan programs profitable and should be allowed $43 billion FY 18 to settle the accounting dispute and stabilize at 2.8% growth due to 3% growth in public housing program spending for the poor, elderly and disabled.

    Human (HS) Services was coined as part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in the Education Reorganization Act of 1978. Human services degrees are, in order of political competence – social work, child development, psychology, addiction studies and mental health. Finance for federal and state human services employees, benefit and grant programs are accounted for by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration for Community Living (ACL) and Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). ACF is the second largest agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To keep true federal public health spending less than $1 trillion FY 18 it is necessary for Congress and the President to create an independent Cabinet-level Department of Human Services (DHS) in the Cabinet that will be accounted for by the White House Office of Management and Budget (WHOMB) by adding it to and renaming Other Independent Agencies (on-budget) to Human Services (on-budget) would incorporate these programs into the HS budget FY 19. It is time for HS to graduate from the Public Health Department (PHD) to prevent true federal health spending from exceeding $1 trillions FY 18. The rule of law must account for 2.5% government health insurance growth from 2014 when the 15.3% Medicaid enrollment growth was incidental to 15.7% decline in employment by the health care sector until national health expenditure is less than 10% of GDP when health spending could be allowed to grow at the 3% rate of in-kind-welfare, like education and social work. Social work is due 3% growth. Cash welfare programs for the poor normally need 4% growth to afford 3% benefit growth to compete with 2.7% average annual inflation and 1% beneficiary population growth, that is dependent upon legitimate demand. The national poverty rate is 15.4% but 16-24 million children, 22%-33%, are growing up poor, otherwise poverty in the United States runs about 10% for working age adults and 9% for elderly, excluding medical bills that drive up the poverty rate to 15.9%. The reason for the extraordinarily high rates of child poverty are that Congress has not authorized an automatic annual 3% raise in minimum wage, or paid for maternity leave, and cut 10 million Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) benefits 1996-2000. Until child poverty is ended by taxing the rich, the failure of the United States to pay legal child support obligations under 18USC§228 constitutes deprivation of relief benefits under 18USC§246.

    1. The Administration for Children and Families, the ACF administers more than 60 human services programs. ACF spending increased 18% from $53 billion to more than $63 billion FY17. 15.9% growth in TANF spending from $17.3 billion FY 16 to $20.1 billion FY 17 must be sustained at 4% growth to $20.9 billion FY 18 rather than reduced to $17.3 billion FY 17 by the $17.3 billion misinformation contained in the Annualized Continuing Resolution FY 17 to $15.1 billion FY 18. ACF FY 17 spending growth is the only federal agency with high levels of growth that must be sustained, albeit at normal rates FY 18. In regards to the ACF, the Annualized Continuing Resolution FY 17 and Presidential budget “cuts” are overruled for the most part. ACF has the burden of proving Full Time Employment (FTEs) and the accurate administration of TANF benefits equally to all poor children growing up in the U.S. Republicans must not levy war by robbing children but require statistical proof of FTE and TANF benefit administration growth until child poverty is conclusively brought to an end. In 1998 there were a total of 56,268 FTEs nation-wide, 35,452 employed by state and local IV-D agencies, and 20,816 federally. The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEP) can be abolished whereas it is reported to have expired in 2007 and is so toxic only Democrats can tolerate the unprofessional health and human services intervention into confidential electrical engineering toleration of terrorist Republican destruction of an energy facility under 18USC§1366. ACF should abolish the LIEAP to reduce spending or increase child welfare spending. Congress should create a mandatory welfare program in the Department of Energy whereby energy corporations would contribute a affordable percentage of their utility receipts into a fund for low income people, along more local lines than the free government cell phone, that needs to re-up the minutes to be free all season. The reduction in spending for child refugees seems justified in promise of reduced referrals. Otherwise all spending for child welfare programs and research should increase at exactly 2.5% FY17- FY18 as if the Republican Annualized Continuing Resolution FY 17 and invasive mandatory Health Professional Opportunity Grant that must abolished FY17, had not attempted to abolish the “mandatory” Social Services Block Grant FY 18. Psychiatric drug abuse by foster care is such a harm to themselves and others that the entire spending category of adoption and foster care needs to be institutionalized in the currently federally unfunded non-profit “orphanages” raising an estimated 100,000 orphans due SSI benefits because their parents died or abandoned them by final legal decision before the age of 18.

    Human Services is going to take all day. The Actuary is not the only accountant who might be tardy this year, but with due diligence my federal budget surplus and tax to end poverty by 2020 will nearly certainly be ready, barring terrorist attack, by the July 15 deadline for FY 18 budget requests under 31USC1106.

  3. nut licking rug munching bunch of shit heads ought to send them to a nice place so they can be out of sight

  4. To: mathew p sokolich

    Hooray for you! Feel better about being so ignorant and narrow minded? Get a life why don ‘cha? What an inappropriate post for this web page. I feel sorry for you.

  5. survivors benefits..yeah …they forget to tell you . …you have to be married for 9 months .. plus they make you feel like you are the lowest piece of dirt on the earth for even thinking you may qualify….and if you try to use the common law marriage rule ..good luck ..there are more loopholes than a piece of swiss cheese and they will try their best to shoot you down…Part of all our social security witholdings are set aside JUST for survivor’s benefits…just don’t expect to get them if you are a new widow……never so frustrated in my life and then just angry..why should anyone grieving have to go through more …At 60 years of age …you most definitely are not to be considered a gold digger…and this is not a moral issue…

    • The moral issue is that most states ditched common-law rules were overridden by legal marriage requirements about the time automobiles became popular. If you live in a verbal culture where you ask the wrong people for advice because you trust them, you may be significantly out-of-touch with the law. I am sorry you made assumptions, but a federal agency must follow CURRENT state law unless federal law takes precedence.

  6. Why does`nt civil unions and domestic partnerships apply to straight couples? It sure would help me if it did.I lived with my husband 14 years and had a child by him,but we were only married 7 of the 14 years so I can`t draw off his SSA.

    • Hi Dale. In cases where a common-law marriage may be involved, Social Security follows the state laws. So, check the laws in your state. If you have additional questions about your situation, please contact us at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Or visit your local Social security office. Thanks.

  7. Instead of this lengthy article, the writer could have simply said “The benefits from same sex couples are identical to the benefits for heterosexual couples.”

  8. California has two types of marriage licenses, regular and “Confidential.” The Confidential license is a confidential license, i.e. not for publication. The Confidential license is a recognition of “common law marriages” in California. The history of the Confidential Marriage License was to legitimize existing common law marriages because the parties could not easily get to a justice-of-the-peace before children starting to be born from the marriage. Therefore the SSA will recognize and honor California common-law marriages existing before the date on the Confidential marriage license.

    Please note, SSA cherry-picks which terms of a state marriage law it wants to follow or honor. For instance, SSA does NOT follow or honor the “community property” term of state marriage laws when implementing SSA “half-support” requirements. Women – you will not be rewarded by SSA for earning more than 50% of husband (Gov Pension Offset).

  9. To understand their consequences will have a hard time at school because their peers will make fun of them for having parents of the same sex, but the parents may not seem to care.

  10. I am in a same sex marriage. February 1st my spouse will receive SS because of age. At the present time I am receiving disability Social Security. How does this impact us or not?

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