The U.S. Social Security Administration has begun "processing some retirement spouse claims for same-sex couples and paying benefits where they are due," according to a press release.
Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security, said that the development has occurred primarily because of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision rendering Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. She added that "in the coming weeks and months, we will develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions."
The payments are limited to couples residing in states that recognize full marriage equality for same-sex couples. The Social Security Administration emailed Windy City Times that "we are paying claims when the individual:
was married in a state that permits same-sex marriage, and
is domiciled at the time of application, or while the claim is pending a final determination, in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.
"For all other claims that do not meet this criteria, we are holding them until we receive further guidance from the Department of Justice. We do, however, encourage individuals who believe they may be eligible for Social Security benefits to apply now to protect against the loss of any potential benefits."