Welcome to Errattic! We encourage you to customize the type of information you see here by clicking the Preferences link on the top of this page.
The U.S. is denying marriage benefits to this gay widower, so he’s suing the government
The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) has a policy that says a spouse must be married to their partner for at least nine months before they’re eligible to receive a deceased partner’s survivor benefits.
That’s not a problem for most couples, but it is for Michael Ely, a 65-year-old gay Arizona resident. He was denied SSA survivor benefits when his husband of six months died of cancer in 2015.
Ely and his partner Jim Taylor met in 1971 and they stayed together for the next 43 years. But because marriage wasn’t legal in Arizona until October 2014, they couldn’t marry until just before Taylor died.
“We got married as soon as we could, quickly gathering our loved ones together in less than three weeks,” Ely said. “But we were only able to be married for six months before I lost him to cancer.”