Williams v. Colvin

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Status: Open
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Issues: Marriage, Relationships and Family Protections, Seniors

Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit against the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of Dave Williams, a widower now living in Chicago, who was denied spousal benefits after the death of his husband, Carl Allen.

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Dave Williams and Carl Allen were a loving gay couple who married in California in 2008 and lived in Arkansas. Carl became disabled in 2009 from AIDS. He stopped working and applied for SSA disability benefits. Dave devoted himself to his husband’s care until Carl’s death in the couple’s Arkansas home in April 2010. Following Carl’s death, Dave applied to SSA for back disability benefits due Carl and a lump-sum death benefit, but has been denied because SSA follows Arkansas’s discriminatory marriage laws to determine whether to recognize the couples’ marriage.

Lambda Legal filed a similar lawsuit in Washington D.C. federal district court on behalf of Texas widow Kathy Murphy and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.