Social Security Spousal Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

The landscape of American society was forever changed in June 2015 when the Supreme Court handed down their decision stating same-sex couples had the right to marry. This decision sent the country into a whirlwind of questions and strong opinions. Among the countless questions about how this will affect other laws is, what to do with social security spousal benefits for same-sex couples.

Currently, the SSA has the following message on their website regarding social security spousal benefits for same-sex couples.


“On 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. We are working with the Department of Justice to analyze the decision and provide instructions for processing claims. We will update this website as new information becomes available.”


It seems the SSA is trying to set up a system that does not differentiate between married same-sex couples and married opposite-sex couples, but there will be some kinks to work out. If you’re in a same-sex marriage and confused about how to proceed with your social security benefits, here’s some general advice:

  • Apply early- It’s going to take a while for the dust to settle, so the faster you can start the process the better.
  • Get in the habit of reporting- Just like an opposite-sex couple, your spouse’s income, and living situation can affect your benefits. It’s best to always report to the SSA if you get married and give them information regarding your spouse.
  • Call a lawyer- Same-sex couples applying for Social Security spousal benefits will have a difficult battle ahead of them. The SSA will have to change processes, forms and procedures to adapt and having an experienced social security lawyer, like Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, will help you navigate this road.
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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law