The Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling has had everyone locked into an intense debate regarding the social aspect of permitting same-sex marriages nationwide – such as what would its effects be on the traditional family. But one thing that was widely overlooked was the financial aspect of things – marriage is an institution which brings financial benefits, after all.
The favorable ruling means that same-sex couples who decide to marry in the 13 states which previously forbade it can now access the same benefits which marriage gives traditional couples. This can, as always, be seen from two perspective – an increase on tax money going towards social security, or the granting of benefits to people who were previously denied it on a purely sexual orientation basis.
Social Security is one of the main financial benefits of marriage, which gay couples will now have access to nationwide instead of just in certain states. Married couples can file for greater cash benefit amounts than single individuals, with a Financial Engines research indicating that the former can receive between $20,000 and $250,000 more from Social Security.
This comes mostly because people who are married may claim benefits on both of their work history rather than just individually, while in the event of death, the amount of Social Security dividends paid is calculated based on the higher amount of the couple, which would be an advantage if the surviving partner earned much less than his spouse.
Same-sex marriages also get two options when it comes to filing for federal tax: married filing jointly and married filing separately. The amount of both is lower than those who file single, and both have their benefits and drawbacks. A joint tax filing will result in less taxes or bigger refunds, while also providing the option for education or adoption benefits if the need arises. At the same time, couples filing separately will pay higher taxes but won’t become dependent on one another, so if one spouse has tax problems this won’t result in a refund cut from the other.
Married partners can also grant one another the status of legal spouse when it comes to retirements plans, which result in the individual retirement account becoming a spousal one, which offers some unique withdrawal options and larger contribution limits in some cases. Also, couples and their children can be put on special employment health care plans which certain employers provide for entire families.
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