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Same-Sex Ruling Also Impacts Social Security Benefits


A long-time U.S. Social Security official says the recent ruling in Wisconsin allowing same-sex marriages also has profound affects on that program.

Webster Phillips worked for Social Security for 31 years before retiring. He now is a staff member of the National Commitee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Prior to Judge Barbara Crabb's ruling last week, Phillips says partners were not eligible for benefits others received....

...an equal benefit package. We're really glad to see that come about because we think it validates the essential concept of Social Security as a family benefit package and a program that is fairly eligible to everybody who contributes to it...."

Phillips says the history of Social Security is to provide benefits to all in the household...

He says children now qualify for benefits on their parents records. Spousal benefits also apply including disability.

"....Social Security...since it began paying benefits in the early 1940's...was a family benefit package. The worker always got retirement benefits. If the worker had a wife or husband or children, then the worker, spouse and children qualified for benefits on the worker's record...."

Phillips says  Crabb's ruling tossing out Wisconsin's 2006 ban on same-sex marriage opened up the system for equal benefits.

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