DoD Extends Benefits to Same-sex Spouses

NGAUS Washington Report

(Aug. 20, 2013) The Defense Department will extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and  civilian employees.

After a review of the department’s benefit policies following the Supreme Court’s ruling that part of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies, the Defense Department will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate.

Entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision. 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.

The DOD recognizes that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry. That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship nonchargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur.