**Social Security Opens to Survivors of Same-Sex Couples Who Could Not Marry**
**Challenging a policy that limited survivor’s benefits to married couples, even though some couples were legally barred from marriage, took years.**
**By Paula Span, The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2022**
**The Social Security Administration now allows gay men and lesbians to receive survivor’s benefits if they can show that they were in a committed relationship and would have married had that been possible. The change could mean greater economic protection for a population with higher poverty rates than American adults overall...**
**Starting at age 60 — or 50 for those who are disabled — a survivor can either apply for a deceased spouse’s Social Security benefits (if these are higher than the survivor’s, or if the survivor does not have the work history to qualify) or apply for them temporarily and delay claiming their own (allowing their benefit to increase until they reach full retirement age or beyond).... Survivors can also receive retroactive payment for the years the agency denied a application....**
**How can survivors prove that they would have married, or married earlier, if they could have? They have to produce evidence like joint bank accounts, leases, mortgages, insurance policies or wills that name a partner as beneficiary or heir....** [end quote]
This change dates to November 2021, when the government dropped its fight against lawsuits demanding retroactive equal treatment for same-sex couples.
The numbers involved probably won’t be large enough to have a Macroeconomic impact, but could be important for individuals.