Same-sex spousal benefits kick in


Same-sex spousal benefits kick in

by: Kim Suchek | .
. | .
published: September 04, 2013

Hello military community,

I hope you had an enjoyable and relaxing Labor Day weekend with your family. As of Sept. 3, there were a couple major changes regarding spousal benefit eligibility in the military community:

First, the Department of Defense is now making spousal and family benefits available to same sex-couples and their dependents, as long as service-member sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate.

The department is also implementing policies to allow military personnel non-chargeable leave for the purpose of traveling to a jurisdiction where same-sex marriages are permitted in order to marry and obtain a marriage certificate.

As operational requirements permit, commanders currently may allow military personnel in same-sex relationships up to 10 days of non-chargeable leave for the purpose of traveling to a jurisdiction that allows same-sex couples to marry if they are stationed more than 100 miles from one of those jurisdictions.

For civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the Defense Department will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor’s guidance.

Also beginning Sept. 3, the Defense Department will begin issuing identification cards to same-sex spouses, as long as service-member sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate from a jurisdiction – including those overseas – that recognizes same-sex marriage.

Entitlements such as basic allowance for housing and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision – June 26 – for service members who were married prior to this date. For those service members married after June 26, entitlements begin at the date of marriage.

Remember that, in addition to the marriage certificate, you will need to present your spouse’s birth certificate, valid driver’s license, or state identification card, and social security card in order to register him or her as a qualified recipient of these benefits.

Blessings from my family to yours,

Kim Suchek

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to share a story or situation, contact me at and visit my website at for updated information and other resources not listed in my book.

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