There is a lot of news coming from the Social Security Administration today.  First, SSA has published new instructions that allow the agency to process more claims for same-sex couples who qualify for Social Security benefits. 

“This latest policy development lets the agency recognize some non-marital legal relationships as marriages for determining entitlement to benefits. These instructions also allow Social Security to begin processing many claims in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages or non-marital legal relationships.  We have consulted with the Department of Justice and determined that the Social Security Act requires the agency to follow state law in Social Security cases. The new policy also addresses Supplemental Security Income claims based on same-sex relationships. Your same-sex marriage may affect your SSI eligibility or payment amount.

If you are in, or are a surviving spouse of, a same-sex marriage or non-marital legal same-sex relationship, we encourage you to apply right away for benefits.”

The SSA website has more details including this Fact Sheet.

Also, today President Obama announced plans to nominate current Acting SSA Commissioner, Carolyn Colvin, to serve as the Commissioner.  Colvin has served in an “acting” capacity for more than a year so it’s encouraging to see that critical position at SSA finally filled.  In addition to being a former NCPSSM Board of Trustee Member, the nominee has filled numerous roles at the SSA going back to 1994.  She has also served as the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services for both D.C. and Montgomery County.