Federal marriage benefits are now officially available to same-sex couples nationwide, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Thursday.
“Thanks to [Justice Department staff’s] leadership and the quick work of the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, today I am proud to announce that the critical programs for veterans and elderly and disabled Americans, which previously could not give effect to the marriages of couples living in states that did not recognize those marriages, will now provide federal recognition for all marriages nationwide,” Lynch said in a statement.
Lynch said she had directed the Justice Department to make same-sex couples eligible for the benefits when the Supreme Court ruled June 26 that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, but expansion of the benefits required a few weeks to implement.
The federal marriage benefits for which same-sex couples are now eligible include Social Security benefits, veterans benefits and Supplemental Security Income.
Same-sex couples were already eligible for benefits in states where same-sex marriage was legal since the June 26, 2013, Supreme Court ruling requiring the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in those states.