Social security administration faces class action lawsuit over treatment of same-sex couples by Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed News (3/10/15).
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and Justice in Aging filed suit against the Social Security Administration Tuesday on behalf of same-sex spouses being told to repay SSA’s overpayments.
Two legal nonprofit groups filed a class action lawsuit against the Social Security Administration Tuesday for its treatment of married same-sex couples after the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that prevented the federal government from recognizing their marriages.
For almost a year after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional in June 2013, the SSA continued to treat Hugh Held and Orion Masters as unmarried.
Despite Held asking the local Social Security branch office in Los Angeles whether the court’s ruling, in light of his 2008 marriage to Masters, would mean a change to his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, he continued to receive his benefits of $877.40 a month.
Then, in June 2014, Held’s benefit was reduced to $308.10 a month on account of his marriage to Masters.
Held and Masters were fine with that change, but they are not OK with the $6,205 bill that the Social Security Administration (SSA) also sent Held, the amount, SSA asserts, that Held was overpaid in benefits since the Supreme Court ruling inUnited States v. Windsor.
On Tuesday, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and Justice in Aging filed a class action lawsuit against the Social Security Administration on behalf of Held and Kelley Richardson-Wright, another married person with a same-sex spouse being told to repay SSA’s overpayments, and all other people similarly affected. The lawsuit asks for the Social Security Administration to be barred from asking people to repay benefits.
“Unfortunately for married same-sex couples in marriage recognition states, SSA was completely unprepared to implement policies required of it by law after DOMA was struck down,” Gerald McIntyre, directing attorney for Justice in Aging, said in a statement. “The victims of that discrimination should not be the ones to pay for the agency’s mistake.”
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