VA permitting Same Sex Spouses to Receive DIC Surviving Spouse Benefits

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Although the statute and regulation which govern Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to a surviving spouse, 38 U.S.C. 101(3); 28 C.F.R. 3.50(b) (2014), state that a surviving spouse must be “a person of the opposite sex” to receive DIC benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs states on its website that it “is no longer denying marital benefits claims because a ‘spouse’ or ‘surviving spouse’ is not a person of the opposite sex.”  This follows President Obama requiring federal agencies to “to cease enforcement” of certain provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) after the Supreme Court held that restricting the definition of “spouse” to heterosexual unions was unconstitutional in U.S. v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013) .  See DOMA and Your Benefits on the VA’s website (click on “Learn More” in the lower right portion of the web page).

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