Same-sex couples may now get upwards of a quarter of a million dollars more in Social Security benefits over their lifetimes thanks to legalization.
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Friday that legalized same-sex marriage could have some big financial implications, and gay couples could reap some serious Social Security benefits.
Married couples enjoy the ability to use certain Social Security claiming strategies to maximize benefits — advantages that were not available to gay couples. But now that the Supreme Court has determined that same-sex marriages be treated legally the same as heterosexual marriages, gay couples will be able to take advantages as well, according to a USA Today report.
What does that mean exactly? It means that they could see their incomes boosted from a low of $20,000 to up to $250,000 over their lifetimes, as estimated by investment advisory firm Financial Engines in California according to the report.
Because these gay unions are now seen as the same as heterosexual unions, the Social Security benefits are considered the same. To demonstrate just how stark the difference is, Financial Engines provided an example of two men in their 60s, one with a salary of about $80,000 and the other with a lower-paying jobs who had taken a few years off of work. In this scenario, the first individual dies at age 84, and the other dies at 90.
Without marriage benefits, they would receive Social Security totaling $797,280 for their household, but if they are considered married, they could receive $938,112 because of spousal and survival benefits to the surviving partner after the first death. That’s a difference of $140,832.
Those who are wondering about their Social Security benefits should consult an advisor to learn ways to maximize their benefits. The Social Security Administration offers help on its website, as well as a special page for gay couples with questions.