It has been two summers since the 5-4 landmark decision in the Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage for all fifty states in the United States. This decision made it possible for more married same-sex couples to take advantage of Social Security claiming strategies that were previously unavailable to them. The Social Security Administration currently recognizes same-sex couples’ marriages in all states and some non-marital legal relationships, such as some civil unions and domestic partnerships, to determine entitlement to Social Security and Medicare benefits. A single person only has to consider nine different scenarios when claiming retirement benefits. However, according to David Freitag, a financial planning consultant at the MassMutual Financial Group, for married couples, the available options for filing strategies grow to 81, he told CNBC in a recent report.
For spousal benefits, those who were married for at least 10 consecutive years can claim either their own benefits based on their earnings or half of the current or former spouse's benefits, whichever is higher, once they reach full retirement age. As for survivors benefits, it is based on the earnings of the person who died. A widow or widower can receive full benefits at their full retirement age or at any age if they take care of their children who are younger than age 16 or disabled. People can claim reduced survivor benefits at age 60.