The Social Security Administration announced on Dec. 16 that it had processed some survivor claims filed by widows and widowers from same-sex marriages.
"I am pleased to announce that, effective today, Social Security is processing some widow's and widower's claims by surviving members of same-sex marriages and paying benefits where they are due," said Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security. "In addition, we are able to pay some one-time lump sum death benefit claims to surviving same-sex spouses."
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the provision in the Defense of Marriage Act barring the federal government from recognizing gay marriages and withholding more than 1,100 benefits from same-sex couples.
Colvin, after the court ruling, said the SSA's goal was to "treat all Americans with dignity and respect."
On Dec. 16, Colvin said, "We ask for continued patience from the public as we work closely with the Department of Justice to develop policies that are legally sound so we can process claims."
She also encouraged gays and lesbians who think they are eligible for Social Security benefits to apply now "to protect against the loss of any potential benefits. We will process claims as soon as additional instructions become finalized."
For more information, people can read about the benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/same-sexcouples.