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Spouses in same-sex marriages can now apply for Medicare benefits.

medicare-pillThe Social Security Administration, which is in charge of determining eligibility for Medicare, has begun working on requests for Part A and Part B coverage by spouses in same-sex marriages as well as requests for special enrollment and reductions in late-enrollment penalties. The Supreme Court’s ruling last year in United States v. Windsor invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act, which had prevented Medicare from allowing benefits for same-sex couples.

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The federal government’s official Medicare website now advises: “If you’re in, or are a surviving spouse of, a same-sex marriage, we encourage you to apply for Medicare if you think you might be eligible.”

“Today’s announcement helps to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision and to ensure that all married couples are treated equally under the law,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “We are working together with SSA to process these requests in a timely manner to ensure all beneficiaries, regardless of sexual orientation, are treated fairly under the law.”

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The eligibility rules are complicated, but more information is available from Medicare and from AARP.

 

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