Social Security benefits still in legal limbo for some same-sex couples

Nearly six months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling making same-sex marriage the law of the land, the Social Security Administration is dragging its feet on implementing changes to its benefit eligibility policies.

Some same-sex spouses have been caught up in a legal limbo while the government sorts out eligibility questions about retroactive spousal benefit claims.

The outcome is important, because spousal benefits are among the most valuable features of Social Security.

Some retroactive benefit cases involve widowed spouses who were married before the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. In others, same-sex married couples who lived in states that did not recognize their marriages have been seeking to claim benefits going back to the date they originally filed their claims.

Two people who have been pursuing litigation against the Social Security Administration learned only in the last few weeks that their benefit claims will be paid.

The SSA has sent mixed messages about its overall policy. Learn more at Reuters Money.

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