What Same-Sex Couples Need to Know About Social Security
Social Security recognizes same-sex couple marriages in all states. Some non-marital legal relationships like civil unions and domestic partnerships determine Social Security benefits as well. Consider these factors to receive the most from your benefits.
Social Security Benefits and the Law
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have the right to marry in all states, and that all states must recognize their union. Social Security focuses on treating all Americans with dignity and equality.
Marital Status Determines Eligibility
If you’re married, same-sex couples can receive Social Security benefits when one person retires, dies or becomes disabled. Your social security taxes pay for these situations. If you’re entitled to Social Security benefits, your spouse and family members might be also.
If your spouse made more than you and he or she dies, you can claim benefits based on your spouse’s earnings instead of your own.
Your Children May be Eligible
If you paid Social Security, your children or stepchildren might be entitled to benefits.
Life Changes Matter
If you get married or enter a non-marital legal relationship, apply right away. Notify social security of life changes like marriage, separation, divorce, or becoming a parent. If you’re married, be sure to claim your Social Security benefits as a married couple. When you retire, your benefit as a spouse can equal half your partner’s retirement amount.
If you claimed Social Security as two separate individuals, you might not be eligible to claim money paid to a surviving spouse. If you were married at least 10 years and you divorce, you can collect Social Security benefits based on your ex’s income for as long as you’re single.
Opposite-Sex Couples May Still Get More
Sometimes heterosexual couples still receive more money in the long run. Women as a rule live longer than men, so they may receive survivor benefits for a longer period of time after the loss of a spouse.
It’s up to you to protect your benefits. Update your status as soon as possible after major life events. Don’t forget to apply for Social Security as soon as possible to determine your benefits. Maintain accurate records to secure benefits for yourself and for your loved ones.
The professionals at Macino Financial specialize in financial planning and are available to answer any questions you have about Social Security planning.
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Investment advisory services are offered through Virtue Capital Management, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Macino Financial and VCM are independent of each other. David Macino and/or Macino Financial Services are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency. Information provided is not intended as tax or legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional.