Social Security starts processing retirement claims for same-sex spouses

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Social Security says it has begun processing — and paying — some retirement spousal claims for same-sex couples.

The agency's action comes after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that said the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. The act blocked federal recognition of gay marriages, leading to couples being denied federal benefits.


Social Security says it will be implementing more policies and processing instructions in the coming weeks and advised people to check its website for more information. But the details on the site are sparse.

Those who believe they may be eligible for benefits are encouraged by the agency to apply for them online.


Update from Social Security:

The agency says it is paying claims of those married in a state that permits same-sex marriage and who are living in a state that recognizes same sex marriage at the time of their application for benefits or when the agency makes a final decision in their case.

Social Security said it's holding onto those claims that don't meet these criteria until it gets more guidance from the Justice Department.

But if you think you may qualify for benefits, apply now to protect against the loss of any benefits, the agency says. That's because if you do qualify, when you start getting benefits will be tied to the time of your application.