The Social Security Administration announces it will allow benefits to the children of a disabled gay father in response to Lambda Legal’s federal lawsuit.
In 2006, Gary Day, a disabled gay father, completed applications for insurance benefits for his children. Day provided birth certificates and court documents that established him as the legal parent, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) ignored his repeated requests for assistance for more than two years — the standard response deadline being 45 days.
After more than a year with no response, Lambda Legal sent a letter on Day’s behalf seeking action by the agency. After the SSA’s refusal to determine eligibility for the children based on what it called “legal questions and policy issues,” Lambda Legal, along with co-counsel from McDermott Will & Emery LLP, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Day in 2008. Several days later, the SSA issued the eligibility determination Day had been waiting more than two years to receive, only it was a denial; the SSA claimed his kids were not his for the purposes of social security benefits. We then filed an immediate appeal of the decision with SSA, arguing that although Day wasn’t allowed to adopt his children in Florida, they were legally his kids through a California court order.
In a recent letter, the SSA announced that it would provide benefits for Day’s children, giving his family the social safety net he had paid into for decades and that other families benefit from on a regular basis. The letter recognizes the legal relationship between Day and his children without discrimination based on his sexual orientation or family status. “As a parent, it is my job to provide for my children,” Day says. “I am relieved to be able to fulfill my promise and also relieved that the SSA will provide the benefits my family needs, just as they do for other families.”