VA will extend veterans benefits to same-sex couples

same sexSame-sex married couples will now be able to share veterans pensions, home loans, medical services and similar benefits previously unavailable to them, department officials announced Monday.

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all states and that those unions must be recognized. Gay rights advocates hoped the measure would drop the last obstacles in getting benefits through the Veterans Affairs Department for same-sex couples with military ties.

Active-duty same-sex military couples received access to Defense Department benefits in 2013, when the high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. But even after that ruling, VA officials denied benefits for some same-sex couples in states where their marriages were not legally recognized, citing other federal restrictions.

Now those barriers are gone. In a statement, VA officials said they are working quickly to provide instructions on extending benefits to all married couples, including same-sex spouses.

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