Thursday, August 27, 2015

Social Security said to be moving forward with same-sex couples married in Arkansas 2014

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 1:35 PM

I heard today that the federal Social Security Administration had begun processing applications by same-sex couples married in Arkansas during the week following Judge Chris Piazza's historic ruling in May 2014, before the Supreme Court stayed the decision.

I found:

* A clerk at the Little Rock office told me  it was her understanding that only same-sex couples married after the June 26 U.S. Supreme Court ruling were being processed.

* Another office employee told someone married in 2014 that applications WERE being processed.

* An on-line chart issued Aug. 12 by the Social Security administration seems to indicate that same-sex marriages in Arkansas from May 9-14, 2014 are now covered. But it notes that marriages in other states didn't qualify for legal recognition in Arkansas until June 26.

Even if processing has begun, it's unclear how long the procesing will take for various applications that Social Security handles, from name changes to disability and retirement benefits.

So far, a firm answer from a live person has eluded me. If anyone else has any insight, let me know.

UPDATE ON FRIDAY, AUG. 28:

I continue to get some conflicting information. I got this statement from an office public affairs specialist:

I noticed your blog post from August 27th regarding the processing of applications for same-sex couples in Arkansas. I wanted to let you know that we are processing applications for same-sex couples married on or after June 26, 2015. For couples married before June 26, 2015, we are currently taking and holding those applications until we receive processing instructions. 

However, two couples report they've been told their applications are being processed. I guess they'll know when they know.

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