Retirement / Social security
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In a landmark decision, same-sex partners and spouses can now claim survivor benefits from Social Security, reports Axios. In 2018, Lambda Legal sued the Social Security Administration over policies that prevented surviving partners from receiving Social Security benefits.
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Under the policy, a surviving partner could only claim benefits if they had been married for nine months before their partner died. However, in states where same-sex marriage had recently been legalized, this was not possible. In addition, in the past, many surviving partners could not apply for benefits because their condition prohibited them from marrying.
Lambda Legal has filed two lawsuits on behalf of same-sex couples that met either of these parameters. In 2020, the federal district courts in Arizona and Washington ruled that policies excluding same-sex couples from survivor benefits were unconstitutional. But then-President Donald Trump appealed in both cases.
On November 1, 2021, the Justice Department and Social Security Administration, under the leadership of President Joe Biden, dismissed the appeals. Now there is no “waiting period” for entitlement to survivor benefits and same-sex partners will have equal access to Social Security survivor benefits.
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“This is a historic development with immense implications: survivor benefits are now equally available to everyone, potentially including thousands of same-sex partners who could not marry their loved ones and who may have thought it was futile to make a request, ”Peter Renn, Lambda’s legal advisor. said in a statement posted on Lambda Legal’s website.
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