Obergefell – Social Security Benefits, New Development

Regardless of your opinion concerning the outcome in the Obergefell decision, as a practicing attorney, you need to stay abreast of developments in the law and this is a big one.

lesbians-839875_640In case you haven’t heard, the Justice Department has agreed to change its policy retroactively to allow same-sex partners to obtain spousal Social Security benefits in states that previously were being held in abeyance. See a quote from lambda legal.org on Friday, in a press release immediately below along with a link to the full story.

(Chicago, August 20, 2015) – Today, in a status conference with Lambda Legal in federal court in Chicago, the Department of Justice announced that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will apply the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent landmark marriage ruling retroactively and process pending spousal benefits claims for same-sex couples who lived in states that did not previously recognize their marriages. According to the Department of Justice, the new policy will apply to previously filed claims still pending in the administrative process or litigation. The expected policy change follows the Supreme Court’s June decision striking down marriage bans across the country.


With this change, it may be the impetus to force many states to change their laws to parallel what this Federal Agency has now agreed to do.


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