Bill Introduced to Ensure Equality Under Social Security for Same-Sex Spouses
On May 8, 2014, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a bill to amend the Social Security Act so that all legal marriages are appropriately recognized. See: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/7ada7247-d7b0-40e5-bece-d684e3c969e2/same-act—one-pager-final.pdf. The bill, called the SOCIAL SECURITY AND MARRIAGE EQUALITY (SAME) ACT OF 2014, would ensure that all same-sex spouses receive equal treatment under the Social Security Act when applying for Social Security benefits, regardless of where they live. The SAME Act would broaden access to the benefits of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013). The Windsor decision overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Pub. L. 104–199, 110 Stat. 2419, enacted September 21, 1996, 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C. To the detriment of same sex couples, for purposes of federal law, DOMA limited the definition of marriage to one man and woman.
In particular, the SAME Act would:
- Confer Social Security Spousal Benefits to any individual legally married in the United States.
- Eliminate the requirement that the spouse reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage in order to be eligible for Social Security benefits.
- Ensure spouses legally married outside the United States are eligible for Social Security benefits.
The bill text can be found at: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/50c5cddf-96c2-4a14-879d-15c1c7b62650/same-act-bill-text-final.pdf.