Will VA pay retroactive compensation and pension benefits for claims involving same-sex spouses? What will be the effective date?

For the purpose of assigning an effective date for a compensation or pension claim, if the claim was pending as of September 4, 2013 (the date of the President's directive), the effective date will be assigned as if the laws barring VA's recognition of same-sex marriage had never been in effect. In some instances, this could mean an effective date as early as the date of marriage or as early as when VA received the claim..

 

For the purpose of assigning an effective date for a compensation or pension claim that was not pending as of September 4, 2013, provided that the claimant met all of the eligibility requirements for the benefit by that date, and the claim was received within the following year, VA generally will assign an effective date of September 4, 2013. For claims received more than one year after September 4, 2103, if the claimant met all eligibility requirements on that date, VA may assign an effective date up to one year prior to the date of the claim. This provides a grace period for persons who were previously ineligible for benefits under the law to learn of the President's directive, and to submit claims and applications based on that change.