The law states that if a person is married to someone collecting social security, they’re entitled to their benefits when they die if they’ve been married for nine months. That was not the case for many same-sex couples before it was legalized in 2015.
One man, Mark, had been with his partner, Anthony, since 1998. Mark suffered from AIDS and almost died but recovered thanks to newly developed medications, according to KOB 4.
Ten years after the fear of dying of AIDS Mark was diagnosed with cancer and he started to feel ill in 2013 when he found out the cancer spread. 2013 was also the year same-sex marriage became legal.
Mark passed away a few months after they got married, after having been together for 15 years. But because of the rule about how long you need to be married, Anthony was unable to collect survivors benefits.
After going to court for years, the Social Security Administration was ordered to make the payments. Anthony finally started getting them in May. After waiting to see what happened with the appeal, he was finally able to use the benefits when it was dropped.
Now, same sex couples are starting to get the same benefits owed to them as other married couples.
Related: One woman was told her social security benefits will be held from her until she’s 100 years old
FingerLakes1.com is the region’s leading all-digital news publication. The company was founded in 1998 and has been keeping residents informed for more than two decades. Have a lead? Send it to [email protected].