How Same-sex Couples Can Apply for SSDI Benefits

SSDI benefits

After the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was ruled by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional in June 2013, the ability of same-sex couples to receive government benefits has been in question. Some federal administrations, like the Federal Revenue Service, have already said they will consider same-sex couples married in states as legally married for tax purposes. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has only recently provided information for same-sex couples filing Social Security disability claims for SSDI benefits.

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

According to the SSA, same-sex couples are now encouraged to apply for SSDI benefits right away. The agency says it is currently in the middle of creating additional policies and processing instructions with the Department of Justice for same-sex couples. For those who are legally married to a person of the same sex, this could mean receiving needed Social Security Disability benefits, even if they are divorced or widowed, The Wall Street Journal reported. According to the newspaper, a same-sex spouse or divorced spouse may now qualify for half of a person’s Social Security disability benefits.

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 recently claimed they couldn’t receive SSDI benefits for their 13-year-old disabled son, Terrel, according to NBC affiliate WMBF. Lisa and Melody Rawson, the disabled boy’s parents, were married in Iowa and moved from their home in New York to South Carolina for their son’s health, WMBF reported.

Same-sex marriage is complicated in the state, as The Slate recently reported the South Carolina Department of Revenue has proposed same-sex couples file their tax returns separately because the state does not recognize gay marriage. According to WMBF, Terrel Rawson has multiple health issues. He is wheelchair-bound due to spina bifida, has a bilateral hip dislocation and a condition that causes water on the brain as well as additional conditions. When the family lived in New York he received $600 a month, but the couple told the news source all of the help stopped when they moved south.

“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.”

Get Legal Assistance Filing Your SSDI Claim

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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