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The recent Supreme Court ruling that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) forces Social Security to recognize same-sex marriages as valid marriages in states that allow or recognize same-sex marriage. (Whether a spouse is eligible for Social Security benefits depends on the state in which the couple lives.)
The states in which same-sex spouses are now eligible for Social Security dependent and survivors benefits are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, Washington, and D.C. To qualify for benefits based on a spouse’s, or deceased spouse’s, earnings record, Social Security requires that the marriage must have lasted a certain length of time. See our article on Social Security benefits for same-sex couples for more information.