Experienced and practical Michigan attorneys solving the problems of business owners, their families, and veterans... one case at a time.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Veterans Benefits for Same Sex Couples
Kristina Derro, Esq.
Just two years ago, gay and
lesbian individuals were prevented from serving openly in the military.Now, same sex spouses of these veterans and
service members will be able to share in their government benefits.
In a recent decision, the United States Supreme Court invalidated
a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act which denied federal benefits to same
sex couples married legally in their states. This law has a large impact on the same sex
spouses of veterans – they will now be able to get help with college tuition, can
be buried in a national cemetery, and may be eligible for other financial
spousal benefits.Additionally, these
spouses will now be able to receive indemnity pay for the death of a spouse in
President Obama has directed
Attorney General Eric Holder to work with cabinet members to ensure that these benefit
changes are implemented swiftly and smoothly.Congress may need to amend the statutes governing VA benefits.Currently, the statutes don’t recognize a
same sex marriage between two residents of a state that hasn’t legalized same
sex marriage – even if that couple was married in a state that has.Legislation to correct this has already been
introduced into Congress.
The implementation of these new
benefits for same sex couples will make a significant financial difference for
many of these veterans.For instance, a
veteran considered 100% disabled is eligible for compensation amounting to
$2,816 per month.However, if that veteran
has a spouse, they may receive $2,973 per month – a difference of $1,900
If you have questions about
veteran benefits, contact Legal Help For Veterans at 800-693-4800 or on the web