Last year, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states. As a result, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes more same-sex couples as married for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits or eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. We recently updated employee instructions for processing claims and appeals when a determination of marital status is necessary.

As part of the new instructions, we have:

• Removed from our policy any mention or consideration of the dates when states first recognized same-sex marriages from other states. These dates are no longer relevant.

• Added the dates when some foreign jurisdictions allowed same-sex marriage, eliminating the need for a case-specific legal review in many international same-sex marriage claims.

• Updated and simplified our procedures for processing claims involving a transgendered or intersex person, allowing these individuals to self-identify as members of a same- or opposite-sex marriage.

• Streamlined and clarified policy instructions, addressing advocate and employee questions. We encourage those who believe they may be eligible for benefits to apply now. Learn more at


For questions, online applications or to make an appointment to visit a SSA office, call from 7am–7pm, Mon–Fri:
1-800-772-1213 (toll free)  |  1-800-325-0778 (TTY)