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Changes to Federal Benefits After the Supreme Court’s Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion on the case United States v. Windsor (PDF). They ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (PDF), which said “marriage” and “spouse” only applied to heterosexual unions, was unconstitutional.

In response to this ruling, President Obama directed the Attorney General to “work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.”

A number of federal agencies have released information about changes to federal programs and benefits as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision:

Taxes - The Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that “same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.”

Social Security Benefits - The Social Security Administration now recognizes same-sex marriages for purposes of determining benefits.

Medicare - All beneficiaries in private Medicare plans now have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives.

U.S. Visas for Same-Sex Spouses - U.S. embassies and consulates will process visa applications for same-sex marriages the same as for opposite gender spouses.

Benefits for Uniformed Servicemembers - The Department of Defense will extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and civilian employees.

Benefits for Federal Employees (PDF) - The Office of Personnel Management is now able to provide benefits to legally married same-sex spouses of federal employees and annuitants.

For the most up-to-date information on other government programs that will change as a result of the ruling, please visit the agency website.  If you don’t know the agency, you can browse by program.

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Image description: Celebrate Constitution Day with your kids by sharing this Kids.gov poster with them. 
How are our three branches of government relevant to Constitution Day? 
The Founding Fathers, the framers of the Constitution, wanted to form a government that did not allow one person to have too much control. With this in mind, the framers wrote the Constitution to provide for a separation of powers.
 A branch may use its powers to check the powers of the other two in order to maintain a balance of power among the three branches of government.
Download and share the poster.
 

Image description: Celebrate Constitution Day with your kids by sharing this Kids.gov poster with them.

How are our three branches of government relevant to Constitution Day?

The Founding Fathers, the framers of the Constitution, wanted to form a government that did not allow one person to have too much control. With this in mind, the framers wrote the Constitution to provide for a separation of powers.

A branch may use its powers to check the powers of the other two in order to maintain a balance of power among the three branches of government.

Download and share the poster.

 

Did you know you can find and purchase items the federal government has for sale through GovSales.gov? You can find everything from office supplies to electronics and airplanes all at discounted prices. 

Find resources to replace vital documents like passports, birth certificates, drivers’ licenses and more.

Image description: A worker prepares the marble facade of the Supreme Court for a laser cleaning.
Photo by the Architect of the Capitol

Image description: A worker prepares the marble facade of the Supreme Court for a laser cleaning.

Photo by the Architect of the Capitol