Married gay couples should take a closer look at their Social Security benefits and their Individual Retirement Accounts. Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage act unconstitutional. Now that the Act denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples has been struck down the retirement benefits of married same-sex couples will be affected.
The Social Security benefits of married gay couples will be affected due to the ruling. Surviving spouses should now be able to claim the Social Security benefits of their deceased spouse. In general, married gay couples have the same options to collect their Social Security benefits in the same way heterosexual couples do.
Another change is that if an IRA is rolled over from a deceased same-sex spouse to the surviving gay spouse the individual retirement account would not be taxed. Pensions could also be left to a surviving same-sex spouse. These are just a couple of the changes that will affect same-sex couple financially. Changes affecting retirement plans are just a small part of the changes that will be made overall. Same-sex married couples should now receive the same tax treatment as heterosexual married couples at the federal level. It is not yet clear when the changes will actually be put into effect but couples should be on the lookout for an announcement of when the changes go into effect so they can make changes to their retirement plans.
If you want a more detailed breakdown of the possible changes due to the court ruling check out this summary article at Lambda Legal.