This summer’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the nation has brought changes not only to family law, but to the world of elder law as well. Planning strategies used for an unmarried couple are not always the same strategies that would be employed when planning for a married couple. Newly married same-sex couples will see consequences, both positive and negative.
Veterans Benefits: Veterans who served at least 90 days of active service, one of which was during a recognized period of war, may qualify for the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance pension. This pension is also available to the surviving spouses of Veterans. For Ohio same-sex couples who have married, both spouses are now eligible for the pension, even if only one of the spouses meets the service requirements.
Medicaid: The rules of Medicaid differ depending on whether the claimant is married or single. A single person must sell their home within 13 months of being on Medicaid in a facility. If an unmarried couple’s home was titled in the name of person needing long-term care, the other person would lose the right to reside there. A married couple will not face this dilemma.
Social Security benefits: A surviving spouse may be entitled to some or all of the deceased spouse’s Social Security benefits. This extra income may affect current planning or the benefits for which the surviving spouse is eligible. Because of the change in status from unmarried partners to a married couple, the planning may need updated as well.
If you or a loved one has questions about Elder Law please contact one of our offices to schedule an appointment with your local Elder Law attorney today.