Arizona Lawsuit Filed Over Social Security Survivors Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

By Isabella Hulsizer
Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 7:55am
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 11:21am
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A lawsuit has been filed to provide surviving same-sex spouses access to Social Security survivor’s benefits.

The Social Security Administration requires couples to have been married for nine months in order to legally obtain survivor’s benefits for one of the partners. The law holds true for same-sex couples who were barred by law from marrying.

In 2014, Michael Ely married his partner of 43 years, James Taylor, as soon as the ban on same-sex marriage in Arizona was struck down. About six months later, Taylor passed away. When Ely tried to apply for survivor benefits, he was told he was ineligible due to the nine-month rule.

"We do not yet have true equality for same-sex couples who’ve been the victims of discrimination for so long." said Peter Renn, attorney for Lambda Legal.

Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit against the Social Security Administration.

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