Sunday, December 28, 2008

Seniors often remain unmarried to keep social securtiy, pensions intact; new "amendments" in FL, VA could hurt them

The Jan. 13 2009 issue of the gay magazine, The Advocate, points out an interest observation for all seniors in the article on p 36 by Julie Bolcer, “The Long Arm of the New Laws”. In Florida, where voters passed a state constitutional amendment buttressing the ban on gay marriage, the constitution contains a provision that bans arrangements among unmarried people that simulate the benefits of marriage. The same concept was passed in Virginia in 2006.

The problem is that many heterosexual elderly couples meet in Florida and would marry, but do not for fear of loosing deceased spouse’s pensions and, particularly, social security benefits. This could happen when there was only one “number holder” in the marriage (often where the wife was a stay-at-home mom, which was more common in earlier generations than it is now). That could lead to serious issues, for example, with hospital visitations and many other situations later.

Generally, law firms and responsible financial service companies have been critical of “social engineering” laws or amendments which often have unintended consequences for populations not targeted by the law or constitutional amendment.

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