Retirees in these 13 states will prosper from the Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court’s landmark finding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry will mean a financial gain for such couples who live in the 13 states that allowed only a man and a woman to wed

The biggest immediate effect, beyond the sweeping civil rights implications, is to put married gay and lesbian couples in all 50 states on equal footing in terms of Social Security and veterans’ benefits.

It will also make it easier and less costly for companies with business in multiple states to manage employee benefits, and it will free workers to take jobs anywhere.

The 5-4 ruling cleared the way for gays and lesbians to marry in the 13 states that had resisted the move — Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.


The federal government for the most part already allowed equal benefits for married same-sex couples, based on the state where their wedding took place. But Social Security is based, by law, on the state of residence. So couples in the 13 states that banned such marriages didn’t qualify for benefits that were available to residents of other states.

For instance, a gay couple who lived in Nebraska after being married in California, would have been ineligible for the spousal benefit and death benefits paid by Social Security. The spousal benefit allows a lower-paid spouse to collect his or her own check or half of the top breadwinner’s check, whichever is greater. And a surviving spouse can claim the other person’s full benefit in place of his or her own if the check is bigger. The difference could amount to hundreds of dollars a month.

Veterans’ benefits are also based on where a couple lives. Same sex spouses are denied spousal benefits, including survivor and burial benefits, if they live in states that don’t allow gay marriage.