Military Advantage

Same-Sex Spouses to Get Military Benefits

The recent Supreme Court decision to kill certain provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (a.k.a. DOMA) removes any legal barriers to allowing full military benefits to gay and lesbian spouses of military servicemembers. Truth is, DoD (specifically the Navy) was already planning to make the changes as early as August. (read, Navy to Offer Military Benefits for Same-Sex Couples). Tom Philpott reports that the new benefits < will include medical care (TRICARE and Metlife Dental coverage), access to the Exchanges, Commissaries and MWR, travel reimbursements for PCS moves, and allowances like the Dislocation Allowance, Basic Allowance for Housing at the "with Dependents" rate or access to on-base housing. (read Tom's Military Update column for more details). In addition, same-sex spouses will be treated like any other spouses when it comes to rights of survivorship, memorial and survivor benefits like the death gratuity. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued a statement that the ruling < changed the "law of the land” and the Department of Defense “intends to make the same benefits available < to all military spouses -- regardless of sexual orientation -- as soon as possible.” (read the full article) What about veteran benefits? As of this posting, the VA has yet to weigh in. < There is little doubt the VA will start moving in the same direction as the DoD. However, knowing the current backlog issues and claims processing concerns it may be a very long wait < for same-sex survivors. We will have to wait and see how the DOMA decision will impact veterans and their surviving spouse and families. Stay Tuned...

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