How Same-sex Couples Can Apply for SSDI Benefits

SSDI benefits

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in June 2013. Then, same-sex marriage became legal thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in 2015. As a result, marriages consisting of two men or women qualify for the same Social Security benefits as heterosexual couples.

SSA Officials Confirm Same-Sex Couples Now Eligible for SSDI Benefits

According to the SSA, same-sex couples may now apply for SSDI benefits right away. For those legally married to a person of the same sex, this could mean receiving needed Social Security disability benefits, even after divorce or widowhood. In fact, a same-sex spouse may now qualify for half of the other spouse’s Social Security disability benefits. This right also applies to divorced same-sex spouses aged 62 and older not currently remarried.

SSA Decision Might Hit Close to Home

It has been difficult in the past for those in same-sex marriages to receive SSDI benefits. A same-sex couple in South Carolina claimed they couldn’t receive SSDI benefits for their 13-year-old disabled son, Terrel, according to NBC affiliate WMBF. Lisa and Melody Rawson married in Iowa and moved from New York to South Carolina for their disabled son’s health.

According to WMBF, Terrel Rawson has multiple health issues due to spina bifida. He is wheelchair-bound, has a bilateral hip dislocation and a condition that causes water on the brain and other problems. When the family lived in New York, Terrel received $600/month. Once they moved South, the couple said, all financial assistance ended.

“It’s heartbreaking to see what we are going through because we are married, and it’s sad and demeaning,” Lisa said. “It’s sad and I feel bad for Terrel because of his needs.”

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

This recent decision from the SSA may help the Rawsons and those in similar situations have their SSDI benefits claims found eligible for Social Security disability by the SSA. For those in similar situations, contacting a Social Security attorney or advocate may also be a beneficial step to consider. Advocates and attorneys may be able to offer valuable insight into the logistics of your claim and help your when dealing with the SSA.

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