The White House has announced that the same-sex spouses of military vets are now granted spousal benefits.
The Supreme Court's rejection of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) means that the spouses of vets can collect federal benefits, regardless of their gender. Prior to this ruling, both the Defense departments and Veterans Affairs only granted benefits to the heterosexual spouses of veterans.
The opening up of benefits came on the heels of DOMA’s backers dropping their formal opposition to benefits for same-sex spouses. The White House has announced that couples who are legally wed must be treated the same across the board in terms of federal taxes, regardless of their gender. Same-sex couples can now file joint tax returns and get any available federal tax benefits that were previously only enjoyed by opposite-sex spouses.
Changes to same-sex benefits have also been made to family and medical leave benefits, immigration and Medicare, and in other federal agencies. Same-sex couples who are legally married are also now being recognized for federal tax purposes, says the IRS, even if the state where they live does not legally recognize their marriage.
In June 2013, the section of DOMA which barred a federal recognition of same-sex unions was ruled unconstitutional. But that did not automatically simplify the extension of veterans’ benefits to spouses; a different federal law governs those benefits, not DOMA, which limited the benefit availability to spouses “of the opposite sex.” But in August of this year, a
federal judge ruled that spousal benefits cannot be denied to a lesbian veteran
in a same-sex marriage. California