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What Same-Sex Couples Must Know about Social Security Benefits

Same-Sex Couples
Same-sex couples will be eligible to receive the same Social Security spousal benefits as other couples. (Photo: Lund Bennett)

Same-sex couples will be eligible to receive the same Social Security spousal benefits as other couples. (Photo: Lambda Legal)

Same-sex couples will be able to receive the same Social Security spousal and survivors’ benefits as other couples beginning in November 2021. After same-sex couples were granted the constitutional right to marry in all 50 states in 2015, President Joe Biden ensured that same-sex couples would not be subject to waiting periods and would have the same access to Social Security benefits as any other couple in November 2021.

There are three types of benefits available to spouses.

If their partner retires, becomes disabled, or dies, spouses of all genders are eligible for benefits. If you are receiving Social Security or disability benefits, your spouse may qualify for benefits when they reach the age of 62, even if they have never worked or paid into Social Security and would not be eligible on their own.

If your spouse is eligible independently, Social Security will pay the greater of the two benefits. Your spouse will be the first to receive their benefit amount. If your total is greater, they will receive the difference as well.

Based on your record, your spouse may also be eligible for Medicare at 65.

READ ALSO: What You Need to Know about Life Insurance for Transgender People

If you apply right away, same-sex couples can receive benefits sooner

The Social Security Administration encourages all couples to apply for Social Security benefits when a life-altering event occurs, such as retirement, disability, or death. You can easily submit an application online by visiting the Social Security Application page. This ensures that you get all the benefits.

Similarly, if a life change occurs, such as a move, marriage, separation, divorce, or the birth of a new child, notify the Social Security Administration as soon as possible so that the benefits change can be accurately noted and applied.

Your children may also be eligible for benefits

If you are married and have an unmarried child under the age of 18, a child 19 years old and still in high school, or a child older than 18 with a disability that began before the age of 22, your child may be eligible for Social Security benefits through your spouse.

A biological child, adopted child, stepchild, or dependent grandchild is required. Children’s benefits do not reduce your retirement benefits.

Understanding eligibility for same-sex couples is important so that you and your children can receive the full benefits you deserve.

READ ALSO: Social Security Bill: Bipartisan Lawmakers Revealed the New Provisions

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