Social Security is committed to treating all Americans fairly. This commitment extends to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people covered by Social Security’s many programs.
October is also National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) History Month. It’s a month-long annual observance of the history of the gay rights movement. First observed in 1994 to coincide with National Coming Out Day, the month has evolved to include a more diverse range of people identifying as LGBT.
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states and have their marriages recognized in all states. This decision made it possible for more same-sex couples and their families to benefit from Social Security.
We now recognize same-sex couples’ marriages in all states, and some non-marital legal relationships, for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits, Medicare entitlement, and eligibility and payment amount for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We also recognize same-sex marriages and some non-marital legal relationships established in foreign jurisdictions for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits, Medicare entitlement, and SSI eligibility.
We encourage anyone who is unsure whether they are entitled or eligible for Social Security to apply right away for benefits. Applying now will protect against the loss of any potential benefits.
If you have any questions about how to apply for benefits, call toll-free 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). We can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday. We treat all calls confidentially.
Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/people/same-sexcouples to apply for benefits and learn more about our policies for same-sex couples.
Brian L. Hewitt is the district manager at the Social Security Administration, 222 Cherry St.