Same-sex spouses of Soldiers now receiving benefits
Pvt. Etan S. Patterson, 25, from Utica, N.Y., and his spouse, Ryan, were married Sept. 3, 2013, in Highland Falls. (Portions of this image have been digitally blurred to obscure personal details)

WASHINGTON (Sept. 4, 2013) -- Same-sex spouses of service members are eligible to receive identification cards and all associated benefits, effective Sept. 3, 2013, according to a Department of Defense memorandum.

For same-sex military couples married before or on June 26, 2013, the effective date of benefits and entitlements is June 26. However, for same-sex couples married after June 26, their effective date of benefits and entitlements is the actual date of marriage.

All Army spouses whether in a same-sex or opposite-sex marriage are eligible for benefits. Soldiers are responsible for updating their personnel records with the appropriate spouse information.

The same procedures used for adding an opposite-sex spouse to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, called DEERS, and acquiring identification cards are also used for adding same-sex spouses. A valid marriage certificate is the required document that must be presented for proof of eligibility for Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System, called RAPIDS. The marriage certificate is also required for proof of eligibility for DEERS benefits and entitlements.

Soldiers assigned to duty stations within the continental United States will be afforded up to seven days of non-chargeable leave to travel to a state where marriage is legal, while those outside the United States may receive up to 10 day of leave.

As the Army continues to simplify the non-chargeable leave policy, commanders, through their G-1 or S-1, are required to contact the plans and resources division within headquarters, Army G-1 at the Pentagon before approving an individual Soldier's request for non-chargeable leave.

The Department of the Army will issue additional guidance clarifying the policy in the coming weeks.

Page last updated Wed September 4th, 2013 at 00:00