Levin Leads Ways and Means Democrats to Press SSA to Notify Same-Sex Couples of All Social Security Eligibility

Jul 23, 2015 Issues: Social Security

WASHINGTON, DC – All 15 House Ways and Means Committee Democratic Members today sent a letter to U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin urging the Commissioner to notify same-sex spouses, widows, widowers, and their children of their eligibility to receive Social Security benefits.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges last month – which ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry – all Ways and Means Committee Democratic Members called on SSA to work with Congress and effectively use its resources to make sure all eligible individuals and families have the information they need to apply for their full Social Security benefits.

In their letter, the Members also requested SSA to put together an action plan to better reach Americans who may not be receiving the full benefits they have earned. Since the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor, which increased Social Security benefit opportunities for same-sex families, only about 4,500 individuals have applied for new or updated benefits, according to SSA.

“The recent Supreme Court decision affirmed what we already know – we are all equal and should be able to marry whom we love… In the near term, we urge you to use all the tools at your disposal to get the word out to families that they must apply to receive their full Social Security benefits,” the Members wrote. “Over the next 60 days, we ask that you develop an action plan that will result in measurable progress in reaching those Americans who are losing out on their full earned Social Security benefits.”

The full letter can be found here.