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Fri May 29, 2020, 09:24 PM

Judge orders Social Security to pay survivors benefits to previously disqualified gay couples

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/5/29/1948647/-Judge-orders-Social-Security-to-pay-survivors-benefits-to-previously-disqualified-gay-couples

Judge orders Social Security to pay survivors benefits to previously disqualified gay couples
Kerry Eleveld
Daily Kos Staff
Friday May 29, 2020 · 6:08 PM EDT
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A federal judge Wednesday ordered the Social Security Administration to pay benefits to the surviving partners of same-sex couples who had been denied the opportunity to marry sooner due to state marriage bans.

As Slate's Mark Joseph Stern notes, the ruling reversed “one of the last remaining vestiges of federal discrimination against same-sex couples.”

The case centered around Michael Ely and James A. Taylor, a committed Arizona couple of 43 years who wed shortly after the Supreme Court struck down same-sex marriage bans nationwide in June 2014. Six months later, Taylor died of cancer. But when Ely applied for federal survivor benefits, he was denied because federal law requires couples be married for at least nine months in order to qualify. The fact that the couple had been illegally banned from marrying sooner was deemed immaterial.

The case was brought in 2019 by the LGBTQ advocacy group Lambda Legal as a class action suit, arguing that the Social Security Administration "cannot rely upon unconstitutional state laws that have since been overturned to justify discriminating against same-sex surviving spouses today."

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Macdonald agreed with that reasoning, writing that "reliance on an unconstitutional law" perpetuated an "unconstitutional infringement on Mr. Ely and Mr. Taylor’s fundamental right to marriage.”

Lambda Legal counsel Peter Renn called the ruling a "tremendous victory" for surviving same-sex spouses nationwide. "No one should be penalized for being the victim of discrimination. The denial of access to these critical benefits can have dire consequences, with some of our class members experiencing homelessness," Renn said.

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Reply Judge orders Social Security to pay survivors benefits to previously disqualified gay couples (Original post)
babylonsister May 2020 OP
jimfields33 May 2020 #1
babylonsister May 2020 #2
jimfields33 May 2020 #3
dsc May 2020 #4

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri May 29, 2020, 09:28 PM

1. Isn't it like a one time payment of 250 dollars?

I am glad he’ll get it but Social Security is stingy with death benefits.

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Response to jimfields33 (Reply #1)

Fri May 29, 2020, 10:53 PM

2. No.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/05/same-sex-marriage-social-security-discrimination.html

Judge Invalidates One of the Last Vestiges of Federal Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples
By Mark Joseph Stern
May 28, 20205:44 PM

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The federal government’s denial of survivors benefits to same-sex couples married less than nine months has harmed Ely and others like him, depriving them of thousands of dollars every year while demeaning their marriages as unequal. So, in 2019, the LGBTQ advocacy firm Lambda Legal filed a class-action lawsuit arguing that the Social Security Administration cannot rely upon unconstitutional state laws that have since been overturned to justify discriminating against same-sex surviving spouses today.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #2)

Fri May 29, 2020, 10:55 PM

3. Thanks. I missed that.

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Response to jimfields33 (Reply #1)

Fri May 29, 2020, 11:23 PM

4. these aren't the same thing

the death benefit is indeed a one time only thing but the survivor's benefit is a different thing entirely. It permits you to collect your spouses SS if your spouse dies before you do and your benefit would be lower. My aunt was unable to get married as she lived in Ohio which was one of the last states which got marriage equality and by the time it did her partner was to ill with dementia to be married. She is married now so this case, even if it applied, wouldn't help her now.

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