In the past month, an online petition — on the campaign platform CREDO Mobilize — that urges Congress to extend Social Security benefits to same-sex couples has garnered more than 109,000 signatures. The petition is just one of many campaigns by advocacy groups backing the Social Security and Marriage Equality Act (SAME).
Under current law, same-sex spouses are only entitled to social security benefits if they reside in a state that legally recognizes their marriage. SAME, which was introduced last month by Democratic US Senators Patty Murray and Mark Udall, would eliminate this requirement and extend social security benefits to anyone legally married in the United States, regardless of whether the state they currently live recognizes their marriage. SAME also ensures eligibility for Social Security benefits for spouses legally married outside of the United States.
On Wednesday June 25, the sponsors of SAME and other members of Congress will meet with the Human Rights Campaign, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and Social Security Works to “lay out the roadmap” for equality of Social Security benefits.
This meeting comes less than a week after the Social Security Administration published new instructions for dealing with claims of same-sex couples’ benefits. These instructions allow the SSA to process more claims regarding eligibility and entitlement to benefits in same-sex marriages as well as to process claims in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages. The new rules, however, do not guarantee that the SSA will grant such claims. The agency will also begin to recognize some non-marital legal same-sex relationships. The SSA also announced that they are still working closely with the US Department of Justice to implement additional policies in the coming months.
Tomorrow’s meeting can be viewed through a YouTube livestream provided by We Act Radio at noon Pacific Time.