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“I Do”: Now All Marriages Are Created Equally

On June 25, 2015 (exactly two years after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Windsor and held that part of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional) the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in Obergefell and ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all states. Now, same-sex married couples are entitled to receive the same federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples regardless of where they reside.

Same-sex couples need to know that the resources (i.e. bank accounts, investments, real estate) owned by their spouse can be counted toward their resource limit when applying for financially sensitive programs such as  SSI (supplemental security income) and Medicaid. SSI provides a monthly cash benefit and Medicaid can pay for nursing home services and community based services (such as home healthcare). If the spouse’s resources causes the spouse who is applying for benefits to exceed the resource limit it will be necessary to consult with an elder law attorney on the legal planning options to maximize preserving assets.

If same-sex married couples have not yet applied for benefits they could be entitled to:

  • social security benefits, such as spousal or survivor benefits,
  • Medicare Part A (hospitalization coverage) on your spouse’s work record even if you did not have enough work credits, or you possibly will not have to pay for it.
  • or Medicaid.

It is important to apply as soon as possible – to begin eligibility at the earliest possible time. Any delay could mean a loss of benefits or health coverage. Do your best to apply by June 30, 2015. Request that you receive a copy of the application date stamped.

I want to be your trusted advisor through life. Call me at 954-382-1997 to schedule a consultation and let’s discuss your new legal rights and the benefits to which you may be entitled.