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Case seeking disability benefits for the children of a same-sex couple


Disabled father Gary Day completed the applications for Child Insurance Benefits for his children. He provided all necessary documentation proving his status as a legal parent, and the Social Security Administration promised a response within 45 days. After a year with no response, Lambda Legal sent a letter to the SSA requesting action. The SSA has continued to ignore Day’s requests, citing unspecified “legal questions and policy issues.” This lack of response has hindered Day’s ability to provide for his children and clearly points to antigay discrimination. It has now been two years since Mr. Day’s initial application — Lambda Legal has filed a lawsuit on the family’s behalf.


The SSA provides benefits for disabled individuals and their dependent children. SSA applicants are required to establish a parent-child relationship; this establishment must not be limited to the children of different-sex couples. Additionally, if individuals are denied benefits, the SSA is required to provide a written explanation so that the decision can be appealed. Several cases hold that a federal court can compel the SSA to determine eligibility in a reasonable amount of time.

Lambda Legal’s Impact

A victory in this case would hold the SSA accountable for mistreating families of same-sex couples. It would also prevent the SSA from stonewalling other applications in the future.


  • May 2008: Lambda Legal files lawsuit