When New Mexico legalized same-sex marriage, it also opened the door for married gay and lesbian couples to receive an array of federal retirement benefits. Married gay and lesbian couples are now entitled to apply for the same Social Security benefits that had been only available to heterosexual married couples.

According to the “Know Your Rights” campaign at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation, if one partner earned a monthly retirement benefit of $2,513 and his/her partner’s benefit was just $945 per month, the couple would be living on $3,458 per month.

But as a legally married couple, the spouse with the smaller monthly benefit can now apply to receive a total benefit equal to up to one half of the benefit of their spouse, which in this case would be $1,256 per month. That’s $311 per month more that can be put toward family, personal and household expenses. This also means there’s more money being pumped into New Mexico’s economy.

Married gay and lesbian couples can learn more about getting their full Social Security benefits on the foundation’s website at www.ncpssmfoundation.org or at www.ssa.gov.

LeRoy R. Aragón
Daily Lobo reader