Social Security benefits and same-sex marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court has now legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, effectively tying up loose ends left by a 2013 decision that opened the door for same-sex married couples to gain access to the same federal benefits as traditional married couples.

“Few of those benefits are more important than Social Security,” says Crosby Burns, a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and former policy analyst of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, an independent, nonpartisan educational institute based in Washington, D.C.

“This program forms part of the bedrock of our nation’s safety net,” Burns says. “With full and equal access to this social insurance program, families headed by same-sex couples finally have access to the economic safeguards they need, intended to keep them out of poverty and afloat during hard times.”

While many same-sex couples have availed themselves of Social Security spousal, survivors and other benefits since the 2013 ruling, some still were left out if they happened to live in a state that didn’t recognize their union. The new decision settles things. Read on to see what married gay couples have gained in Social Security benefits.