Social Security: Are Same-Sex Couples Entitled to Spousal Benefits?

The recent court rulings in Oregon and Pennsylvania mean that same-sex couples in those states are finally entitled to spousal Social Security benefits.

May 25, 2014 at 2:00PM

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The number of states that recognize same-sex marriage grew by two this week, as federal judges in Oregon and Pennsylvania struck down laws in those states that banned the unions. But while this gives couples privileges under state law, does it finally allow them to collect spousal Social Security benefits as well? The answer to this is a qualified yes.

Since last year, the Social Security Administration has allowed state law to dictate whether or not same-sex spouses are entitled to spousal benefits. Prior to that, the Defense of Marriage Act banned the granting of such privileges for the purposes of federal law. In 2013, the related provisions of the Act were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

As Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield discusses in the video below, the result is that married couples in states that recognize the same-sex marriages are given the full slate of rights when it comes to Social Security. But couples in states that don't are not so fortunate.

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