Held v Colvin
Justice in Aging, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and Foley Hoag, LLP have filed an appeal after a district court judge dismissed a class action suit filed in March, 2015 against the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients married to someone of the same sex in or before June 2013. The suit charges that SSA discriminated against these individuals for months, and in some cases more than a year, after that discrimination was held unlawful by the Supreme Court when it struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June 2013. In October 2015, after our appeal, a group of lawmakers sent SSA a letter asking the agency to waive recovery of overpayments and implement the Supreme Court’s decision. In April 2016, SSA issued a new policy that favorable addresses concerns raised in the lawsuit and in the Congressional letter.
Well after DOMA was struck down, SSA did not recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, even in cases where SSI recipients informed SSA that they were married. Benefits for unmarried individuals are higher than for married individuals, but SSA continued to issue benefits as if the married individuals were single. And now the agency is demanding that recipients refund the benefits they were paid as a result of the discrimination.