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Social Security Administration Taking Claims from Same-Sex Spouses

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On July 12, 2013 the Social Security Administration announced it is taking claims from individuals who believe they may be eligible for Social Security benefits. The announcement followed the Supreme Court decision in Windsor v. United States, declaring section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

Social Security Benefits that a same-sex spouse may qualify for include:

  • Survivor benefits as early as age 60 (reduced benefit)
  • Survivor benefits as early as age 50 (if he or she is disabled and the disability started before or within seven years of the worker’s death)
  • Survivor benefits at any age (if he or she is caring for a decedent’s child under age 16)
  • Spousal retirement benefits based on worker’s record
  • Spousal disability benefits based on worker’s record
  • Divorced spouse retirement benefits based on worker’s record 

The Social Security Administration is working with the Department of Justice to determine how the Windsor decision affects its programs and to develop appropriate instructions for its personnel. It will process claims as soon as it has finalized these instructions.

At Lefstein-Suchoff CPA & Associates, we make it a priority to stay current with all tax law changes.  Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance with this or other tax or accounting matters.  We can be reached at 201-947-8081 or 646-688-2807 or email us at

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