Disabled Veteran Fights for Benefits Denied Over Same-Sex Marriage

by Staff | October 14th, 2011

A disabled veteran from Connecticut is challenging the constitutionality of two federal laws defining marriage as being between opposite-sex partners after she was denied veterans benefits. The New York Times reports that experts are calling it the first case of its kind, wherein a plaintiff tries to use the veterans court of appeals to assail the Defense of Marriage Act.

The woman, who is a former sailor, married her partner last year, but when she applied for an increase in her monthly disability compensation she was denied because she is married to a person of the same sex.

The woman’s lawyers filed their notice Thursday before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington, where her legal team is expected to argue that the government’s definition of marriage violates her Fifth Amendment right to due process. It’s also set to taken on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

“These challenges are bubbling up all over the place,” said Michael Allen, a professor of constitutional and veterans law at Stetson University College of Law in Florida. “With the recognition of same-sex marriage in New York, a big state, you’ll see this more frequently.”

If the veteran loses her appeal, she may take her case to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and then on to the Supreme Court.

Read more.

What’s your take on veterans disability benefits for those in same-sex marriages?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Connect With Our Attorneys Now