DoD Extends Benefits To Same-Sex Spouses
Same-sex spouses of military personnel will now receive the same benefits as heterosexual spouses.The Department of Defense announced Wednesday that it would extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and civilian employees. Officials say they reviewed the department's policies following the Supreme Court ruling that part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Spousal and family benefits will be available no later than September 3 regardless of sexual orientation as long as there's a valid marriage certificate. Entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing (BAH) and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court's decision, officials said in a statement. Any claims to entitlements before that date will not be granted. For those members married after June 26, entitlements begin at the date of marriage. For civilian employees, Defense Department officials say they will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor's guidance to make sure legally married same-sex spouses will get the same benefits as heterosexual spouses. See the implementation memo from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. See further guidance on extending benefits to same-sex spouses of military members from Acting Under-Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright.