Lawsuit seeks to recoup social security benefits for gay couples by Chris Johnson, Washington Blade (3/10/2015).
A new class-action lawsuit has been filed seeks to recoup Social Security benefits given to married same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.
The lawsuit, Held v. Colvin, was filed by the New England-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Justice in Aging and the D.C.-based law firm Foley Hoag LLP against the Social Security Administration on behalf of same-sex couples forced to repay Social Security benefits — or those who will be forced to repay them — on the basis of the court ruling against DOMA.
Benefits for unmarried individuals are higher than for married individuals, but even after the Supreme Court ruled against the federal prohibition on same-sex marriage, the Social Security Administration continued to issue benefits to certain individuals in same-sex marriages as if they were single. When the agency caught on, it demanded repayment.
The case, which alleges the Social Security Administration is acting in violation of the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution, is pending before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
“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,” said Gerald McIntyre, directing attorney for Justice in Aging. “The victims of that discrimination should not be the ones to pay for the agency’s mistake.”
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