Social Security Opens to Survivors of Same-Sex Couples Who Could Not Marry

Beginning at age 60 — or 50 for individuals who are disabled — a survivor can both apply for a deceased partner’s Social Safety advantages (if these are greater than the survivor’s, or if the survivor doesn’t have the work historical past to qualify) or apply for them quickly and delay claiming their very own (permitting their profit to extend till they attain full retirement age or past).

“The surviving spouses can find yourself with much more revenue,” mentioned Trinh Phan, senior employees legal professional at Justice in Growing old. The typical survivor’s profit, the Social Safety Administration experiences, is $1,467 a month.

Ms. Thornton, as an example, had all the time labored for nonprofit organizations — first a meals co-op, then a theater — and by no means earned as a lot as Ms. Brown, a employees member and teacher at The Evergreen State School.

On her personal, Ms. Thornton needed to apply for Social Safety early, at 62, and turned to pet-sitting to complement her advantages of $953 a month. She lived frugally and didn’t go to household usually. “I couldn’t simply purchase a airplane ticket and fly to California,” she mentioned. “I needed to postpone upkeep on my home for years.”

As soon as Social Safety started her paying survivor’s advantages, nevertheless, her month-to-month revenue practically doubled, to $1,849. And he or she obtained a lump sum of $72,000, retroactive cost for the years the company denied her software.

An unknown, and maybe unknowable, variety of individuals had been by no means capable of marry their late same-sex companions. However a second group has also become eligible for survivor’s advantages: same-sex {couples} who had been married for lower than 9 months, the authorized threshold for survivor’s advantages, earlier than one partner died.

Anthony Gonzalez and his associate, Mark Johnson, lived collectively in Albuquerque, N.M., for practically 16 years, considering they might by no means have the ability to marry of their state.


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