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Deadline Approaching for Gay Married Retired Military to Enroll In Survivor Benefit Plan

Retired and active military are entitled to designate their surviving spouse to receive the pension upon the veteran’s death.  This is called the ‘survivor benefit plan.’ This benefit plan provides up to 55% of the veteran’s pension and helps many widows and widowers avoid financial hardship.  As a result of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor (that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional), married gay retired military are entitled as of June 25, 2013 to this same federal benefit.  Please note that the decision only benefits married same sex couples.  Federal benefits are not available to LGBT couples who have entered into a civil union or, domestic partnership.

It is the responsibility of the retired military personnel to notify the Department of Defense and enroll in the Spousal Benefit Plan – it is not automatic. If the retired or active military person was married before June 25, 2013, then he/she must make the election by June 26, 2014.

Congratulations to the Department of Defense for taking a lead role in providing equal benefits to married men and women in the military, and to their families. To read more about the Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s new rules Click Here. To stay up to date on new developments for the LGBT community, read our blog and the Department of Defense releases.

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Law Office of Stephanie L. Schneider, P.A.