Durbin, other lawmakers call out Social Security agency on same-sex couples
U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and other D.C. lawmakers have asked the Social Security Administration (SSA) to treat all marriages equally.
The lawmakers sent a letter on Monday to acting Commissioner of Social Security Carolyn Colvin and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, urging them to ensure that the SSA does not penalize married same-sex couples with regard to overpayments of benefits after the Supreme Court's recent decision on same-sex marriages.
“We are concerned to hear that, for some time after the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision, SSA continued to issue benefits to Supplemental Security Income recipients in same-sex marriages as though these individuals were single, and that for some SSI recipients, SSA is still doing so,” the letter said. “SSA should not penalize people who are poor, elderly or disabled because SSA continued issuing benefits to these married individuals as though they were single. According to SSA’s statute and regulations, SSA shall avoid penalizing an individual for overpayment if the individual is without fault and if recovery of the overpayment would be against equity and good conscience.”
Durbin and his colleagues asked the SSA to waive recovery of overpayments from all affected same-sex couples.
“(W)e urge SSA to issue a blanket waiver for recovery of overpayment for all of these individuals automatically – especially since SSA’s inability to update its systems resulted in SSA’s continuing to apply Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act long after the Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional."
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