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Application for Same-Sex Spousal Benefits

Background

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state.  Accordingly, VA now recognizes all same-sex marriages without regard to a Veteran’s state of residence. 

Formal guidance implementing Obergefell was issued to claims processors on October 22, 2015.

Eligibility Requirements

VA offers a variety of benefits and services that depend on "spouse" and "surviving spouse" status.  VA will generally accept a claimant’s statement that he or she is married.  This same procedure applies no matter if the claimant is asserting that he/she is in an opposite-sex marriage or a same-sex marriage.

VA is dedicated to serving all eligible Servicemembers, Veterans and their families and providing them the benefits they have earned. We encourage all Veterans in same-sex marriages who believe they are entitled to benefits (including those whose claims were previously denied on a ground related to their marriage) to promptly apply for benefits.  For additional information, updated guidance, and instructions on how to re-apply, please visit http://www.va.gov/opa/marriage/.

News Topic(s): VA Benefits