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Soon to be equality within social security in the USA
(Blogmensgo, blog Gay of August 25, 2015) Gays and lesbians who are legally married to a person of the same sex may have the right to social security as a wife or husband, even if the State of residence does not authorize gay marriage before the Supreme Court of 26 June 2015 on gay marriage. This measure, announced on August 20, 2015 by the US government, will have a retroactive effect.
The date and the exact modalities of implementation of this measure remain unclear. The federal government, however, encourages those who believe to be entitled to submit their application for benefits now.
The Ministry of Justice indicated that for married couples, the benefit of Social Security and its services is a constitutional right which, since the judgment of 26 June, also applies to lesbian and gay couples. Pensions, widowhood, etc., specific to married persons must therefore be paid irrespective of the State where the potential recipients reside.
So far, the federal services of Social Security check the residence to determine if a married gay couple could claim the same conditions as a heterosexual married couples. If the couple - or beneficiary - lived in one of 11 states that do not recognize same-sex unions before the judgment of 26 June, when the marriage was deemed never to have occurred, at least in terms of social Security benefits.
The new federal doctrine follows a dual complaint. A widow of 63 years, Kathy Murphy, had not been entitled to a survivor's pension after the death of his wife. A widower of 57, Dave Williams, was unable to obtain either a survivor's pension or reimbursement of social benefits due to her late husband.
Both complainants reside in states - Texas and Arkansas - where while gay marriage was deemed worthless and their respective spouses died before 26 June 2015. The two cases, introduced in 2014, were defended by a specialized LGBT association, Lambda Legal.
In early August 2015, the Federal Judge Orlando Garcia also ordered the Texas Department of Health to put its administrative documents in accordance with the legalisation of gay marriage, no later than August 24, 2015.
Relevant documents include birth certificates and death. The boxes for the second parent or same-sex spouse were previously left blank. The Texan administration explains the non-compliance of civil status documents by problems with a software provider.
The Texas authorities do not indicate whether the problem was resolved before the deadline of 24 August.
This article has been translated from our French blog, to view the original, click here.