Will pensions finally pay the survivor benefits they deny gay and lesbian spouses? / LGBTQ Nation


45 Democratic senators signed a letter calling on the IRS and the Treasury to pay survivor benefits more equitably to LGBTQ spouses.

The letter, led by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), calls on both departments to update guidelines implemented under the Obama administration that allow some regimes to retreat to exclude LGBTQ couples who do not meet certain requirements.

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Sent specifically to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig, the letter explains that some plans deny LGBTQ people the right to survivor benefits because they do not meet the requirement to have been married for a year before the death of their partner. .

Many of them, however, were legally barred from marrying before their partner died. For others, their partners died soon after they were finally able to get married.

LGBTQ couples in these situations do not enjoy the same benefits even though, as the letter says, “they were in a loving and committed relationship and would have married sooner if they could.”

“We should not let the echoes of the bigotry that has deprived so many people of the right to marry for so long deprive them yet again after they have lost their loved ones,” he said.

Senators went on to explain that the Social Security Administration (SSA) had already updated its own policies to address the limitations faced by so many LGBTQ couples before marriage equality was granted nationwide in 2015.

The SSA, they explained, is currently reviewing the survivor benefit claims of LGBTQ people whose partners have died before they can marry for the nine months required by the department.

“The IRS should do the same for survivor benefits pensions,” the letter said. “Just as laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, so are the exclusions of survivor benefits associated with these marriage bans. “

The letter acknowledges that in general the requirement that couples must be married for a period of time is “justified as an indicator to detect or deter fictitious relationships between opposite-sex couples”, but says it must be viewed differently when it comes to LGBTQ couples.

“Correcting this mistake will end the discriminatory treatment of thousands of same-sex partners and spouses and allow them to access the benefits owed to them. “


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