“I am pleased to announce that Social Security is now processing some retirement spouse claims for same-sex couples and paying benefits where they are due. The recent Supreme Court decision on Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, made just over a month ago, helps to ensure that all Americans are treated fairly and equally, with the dignity and respect they deserve.
We continue to work closely with the Department of Justice. In the coming weeks and months, we will develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions. We appreciate the public’s patience as we work through the legal issues to ensure that our policy is legally sound and clear.
I encourage individuals who believe they may be 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.”Update: The staff instructions are to continue to hold claims in cases where the state in which the claimant is residing does not recognize same sex marriages. Social Security had to wait over a month to issue this! Deliberation is fine but this issue shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone.
Further update: This press release and these instructions appear to have been timed to come out on Friday afternoon, traditionally the time that public relations gurus say to release information you wish you didn't have to release. Also, this was released just before an Obama press conference.