Many of you may have heard of the famous Windsor case in the news recently. This is the one where the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) came under attack. Basically, a same sex-couple was married in Canada. They both moved to New York and one of them died. The surviving spouse was denied a benefit in federal estate taxes, due to the definition of “marriage” and “spouse” in a federal statute. The court held that, DOMA’s definition of marriage was unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment. What some people may not know is that this affects some people’s social security benefits. The court stated, “DOMA also brings financial harm to children of same-sex couples. It denies or reduces benefits allowed to families upon the loss of a spouse and parent, benefits that are an integral part of family security.” U.S. v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 2695 (2013). Under the current law, married same-sex couples can, for the first time ever, claim social security upon the event of death of their spouse.

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