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Federal Marriage Benefits for Same-Sex Married Couples

As Utah has currently put a hold on its recognition of same-sex marriages, the federal government has issued an announcement that will be unaffected by the state's decision. The Department of Justice announced last week that the more than 1,300 same sex-marriages in Utah will be recognized by the federal government. This means that these couples will be eligible for the same federal benefits that have been accorded to all same-sex married couples since a portion of DOMA was struck down by the Supreme Court's ruling last year. But what are these federal benefits? Read on to find out.

There are some federal benefits available to same-sex married couples regardless of where they live. As long as the marriage was performed in a place where same-sex marriage is recognized, then a gay married couple would be eligible for immigration and federal employee benefits, as well as certain federal tax benefits. Social Security benefits, on the other hand, only apply in locations where same-sex marriage is recognized, regardless of whether the place of celebration was in a place that recognizes gay marriage. So that means even if a same-sex couple gets married in New York, if they move to Nebraska, they would lose their eligibility for Social Security benefits.

Here is a further breakdown of these benefits:

Social Security Benefits: If a same-sex married couple lives in a state where the relationship is recognized, they are now eligible for a spousal survivor benefit, spousal retirement benefit, and lump-sum death benefit.

Tax Benefits: As long as the place of celebration recognizes same-sex marriage, a gay or lesbian married couple will now be eligible for numerous tax benefits, which cannot be listed exhaustively here. Some of these benefits include being able to file joint income tax returns and to set up a "family partnership" for a business. When it comes to the estate planning aspects of taxes, married couples are able to get estate and gift tax exemptions, estate tax "portability", and to set up life estate trusts.

Military and Veteran Benefits: These benefits include health care, family separation pay, relocation assistance, and more for spouses of living members of the military, while spouses of deceased veterans are eligible for death pensions, educational assistance, home loan guarantees, vocational training, bereavement counseling, and more.

Federal Employment Benefits: Some of these benefits for surviving spouses include and are not limited to wages, worker's compensation, health insurance, and retirement plan benefits. Spouses of living federal employees are eligible for health insurance and more.

Immigration Benefits: There are also too many of these benefits to list here, as numerous immigration benefits are linked to marriage. Of course, this includes getting a green card and eventually becoming a citizen based on being married to a U.S. citizen.

While preparing for marriage is an exciting time in life, and while it will bring innumerable benefits with it, it also important to have one's financial and legal matters in order. There are many advantages to creating a prenuptial agreement, both during a marriage and if that marriage ends in a divorce. Learn more about the legal ramifications of the Marriage Equality Act, as well as the ways you can prepare for the legal aspects of your relationships when you contact the Meyers Law Group, P.C.

An experienced Long Island family attorney can answer your questions and provide the legal counsel that you deserve. Our legal team is well-versed in this constantly updating area of the law, and we can help you navigate issues of child custody, visitation, property division, domestic partnerships, and more. Do not hesitate to contact us today!