Social Security defines same-sex couple policy

BALTIMORE – The Social Security Administration has published new instructions that allow the agency to process more claims in which entitlement or eligibility is affected by a same-sex relationship. These instructions come in response to last year’s Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor, which found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

This latest policy development permits the agency to recognize some non-marital legal relationships as marriages for determining entitlement to benefits. These instructions also allow SSA to begin processing many claims in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages or non-marital legal relationships.

With guidance from the Department of Justice, SSA officials determined that the Social Security Act requires the agency to follow state law in Social Security cases. The new policy also addresses supplemental security income claims based on same-sex relationships.

People who believe they may be entitled to or eligible for benefits can apply now. More information is available at