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This past month has been one awesome Gay Pride Month. On June 26th, America became GAYmerica; the 21st country to legalize gay marriage. Congrats, USA! First, same-sex couples gained the right to marry their loved ones (sad we even had to fight about it), then same-sex couples get extended the availability of benefits! Pop the champagne!

Now that same-sex couples (or couples as I like to call them) can get benefits – What does all this mean?! What type of benefits are we talking about? Do these same-sex couples get ALL the benefits, or only some? Is this a political trick? These are the questions that first came to mind when I heard the Obama Administration was extending federal benefits to same-sex couples. Lets talk about it.

Social Security
Social Security is money put aside for you by the government for your old age, if you retire or/and become disabled. These benefits are only available to married same-sex couples. YES!

“Federal marriage benefits will become available to same-sex couples in all 50 states, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Thursday, a change that follows the Supreme Court’s historic ruling that all same-sex couples in the country have the right to get married.” – Washington Post

Back in 2013, the Treasury Department and the IRS stated same-sex couples would be recognized for all federal income tax purposed regardless of where they lived. These federal taxes include income tax, estate taxes, and payroll taxes. Bitch better have my money!

Immigration Law
US Immigration Law recognizes any same-sex marriage as long as it is recognized in the place where the marriage took place. Also, when you’re flying back from your awesome family gaycation in Munich, your family just needs to fill out one customs declaration sheet since your marriage is now recognized.

[Read more about the Defense of Marriage Act DOMA]

Employee Benefits for Federal Workers
LGBTQIA federal workers are able to enroll their spouse in health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Health Care for FEDS!

Continued Health Coverage (COBRA)
Yes, LGBTQIA folks can keep their health care.

This is all fine and dandy, but what about all the folks that were previously denied benefits and social security? Do they get to re-apply? When will that be? When is their open window? Well, don’t worry – the Federal Government is working on it. They suggest to APPLY NOW! In fact, that’s a helpful tip for all you gays.

If you apply now, the paper/computer trail will start. If in the future things change, and your availability for benefits are taken away – you will be able to continue with the benefits you have as a Federal Employee.

WIKI-Same-Sex MarriageWIKI-Same-Sex Marriage

Traveler by trade, wanderer by nature, this two spirit walks the earth in hopes to live freely and with ease. I am a trained and skilled artist, journalist, musician, photographer, graphic artist, and producer. I come to Oakland to express myself via Wear Your Voice Magazine as the Manager of Mis-Chief - doing everything from events, photography, graphics, and interviews. If I were to be a tattoo, I would be the essence of light depicted in a abstract brilliance of circles and color with a ratio of time mixed in sparkled and sprinkled a little all over my body. I wouldn't be a street in Oakland, I would be an underground tunnel of excitement and interest. My favorite spot in Oakland is the FOX Theater because I love live music.

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