Thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, same sex marriage is now recognized in all of the U.S. states. This means that same-sex couples now have the right to all the benefits that opposite-sex couples have always received.
So what does that mean for all same-sex couples out there? It means that you should apply right away for the benefits that are now within your reach. Here are some of the most important financial items you should know about in light of the changes following Obergefell v. Hodges.
Social Security Just Got Bigger
Social Security’s spousal benefit gives all married partners flexibility in planning for retirement. For example, higher-earning spouses can enable their lower-earning spouses to collect benefits.
If a primary wage-earner becomes disabled, Social Security provides assistance through spousal disability benefit.
You may also be allowed to receive survivor benefits if your spouse passes away. You may receive it at age 60, or at age 50 if you are disabled, or at any age if you are looking after your deceased spouse’s child.
Speaking of children, kids of same-sex couples have been profoundly affected by the ruling, which overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. Now, children of same-sex couples also have access to programs that are designed to keep them away from poverty through economic support if parents are no longer able to provide for them.
Update Your Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan Beneficiaries
As an employee, you should update the beneficiaries of the retirement plan sponsored by your private employer. Retirement plans should provide all couples mandated spousal benefits and consents. This means that all same-sex spouses are now eligible to receive retirement and medical assistance.
Keep the Whole Family Healthy with Improved Health Insurance
While you are updating your retirement plan, you should also review your health insurance plans. Now that sex-sex marriage is legal in all states, no health insurance company can deny coverage to same-sex spouses.
Get to Know Your Taxes Better
Same-sex couples are now required to file federal income tax returns under the status “married”, whether or not these are filed jointly or separately. Under the “married” status, you can transfer properties to your spouse without paying for estate taxes, saving you thousands of dollars.
Same-sex spouses are also now able to give gifts to one another, without needing to pay for state gift taxes.
Get Your Legal Documents Up-to-Date
Lastly, you should update all your legal documents such as wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents to ensure that your spouse is duly recognized by the law and can claim the benefits that go along with it.
If you have legal needs in the area of family law, contact the Lyttle Law Firm today to schedule your consultation.