Metro Weekly

Social Security begins paying claims of same-sex couples

Social Security has begun processing claims and awarding payments to the surviving spouses of same-sex marriages in what is the latest change made by the federal government to better reflect a post-DOMA legal landscape.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Social Security.jpg“I am pleased to announce that, effective today, Social Security is processing some widow’s and widower’s claims by surviving members of same-sex marriages and paying benefits where they are due,” said Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security, in a statement. “In addition, we are able to pay some one-time lump sum death benefit claims to surviving same-sex spouses.”

The announcement comes after the Supreme Court in June struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. 

The updated policy, however, places a hold on claims filed by a person whose same-sex spouse died in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

In her statement today, Colvin asked for continued patience as Social Security continues to work with the Justice Department to develop legally sound policies for processing claims.

“As I stated shortly after the Supreme Court decision on Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, our goal is to treat all Americans with dignity and respect,” Colvin said. 

The announcement from Social Security was one of several post-DOMA changes announced over the past few days by various parts of the federal government. On Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Pentagon and the Department of Education all made DOMA-related announcements concerning updated policies.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's former political editor and White House correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @JustinCSnow.

Leave a Comment: