Benefits Denied

Source: Ben Furnas and Josh Rosenthal, Center for American Progress, March 2009

After paying a lifetime of payroll taxes into a system that is supposed to provide retirement benefits for married couples, same-sex couples who marry are denied thousands of dollars in retirement benefits, survivor benefits, and lump-sum death benefits, simply because they are married to a person of the same sex.

This paper illustrates the cost of denied benefits to three typical couples, as well as one hypothetical couple with average characteristics of same-sex couples in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and California, where same-sex marriages are officially acknowledged
under state law.

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