SSA to Waive SSI Same-Sex Overpayments

Empire Justice March 28, 2016

In previous editions of the DAP newsletter, we have reported on the conundrum created by the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) continuing to issue Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to members of same-sex couples as if they were single even after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, –– U.S. ––, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 2695, 186 L.Ed.2d 808 (2013). In May 2015, SSA issued Emergency Message (EM) 15016, providing that future SSI can be reduced or terminated based on the income or resources of a same-sex spouse, but not prior months.  But it prohibited new overpayment notices being issued to SSI recipients married to persons of the same sex, and advised adjudicators to hold the many outstanding overpayment notices issued during the interim.

On March 16, 2016, SSA issued EM 16013 – Processing SSI Overpayment Resulting from Same-Sex Marriage. It tells adjudicators to process the overpayments previously put on hold, consider them as “presumed waiver requests,” and grant waivers as against equity and good conscience.

This appears to be great news for couples facing large overpayments. It is thanks in large part to the advocacy efforts of Jerry McIntyre of Justice in Aging and others.