A fight by a 92-year-old trans widow for survivor benefits leads to change in US policy

Social Security Administration will no longer require additional legal scrutiny for claims made by transgender spouses

A fight by a 92-year-old trans widow for survivor benefits leads to change in US policy
05 April 2014

A case involving a 92-year-old transgender widow has resulted in the US Social Security Administration making a change in policy regarding survivor benefits.

Robina Asti is a WWII veteran and pilot who has been a transgender woman since 1976. She had been denied benefits after the death of her husband for two years because she had been born a male.

She finally got her benefits on 14 February after a legal appeal.

The old SSA policy subjected every claim for spousal benefits by a surviving transgender soouse to lengthy and excessive scrutiny and presumed that a spouse’s gender transition was a barrier to receiving benefits, according to Lambda Legal which filed Asti’s case.

The SSA said that although its past policy was to refer all marriage-based claims involving transgender people for a legal opinion, its new policy allows them to process most claims without one.

‘This is a critical development for all married transgender people, but is especially important for transgender older adults, who rely on the safety net of Social Security benefits,’ said Karen Loewy, Senior Attorney and Seniors Program Strategist for Lambda Legal.

The new SSA policy presumes the validity of most marriages regardless of whether a spouse is transgender.

‘We hope no one has to ever again endure the disrespect that Ms. Asti experienced,’ said Dru Levasseur, director of the Transgender Rights.



No thumbnail available

Australia to get national LGBT phone counseling service

Australia is to get a national LGBT phone counseling service with the country’s five state LGBT counseling services working together with the National LGBTI Health Alliance to provide the service
No thumbnail available

Ireland’s government split on gay marriage referendum timing

Ireland’s Fine Gael party discussing with its Labor coalition partner to possibly postpone a referendum on gay marriage
No thumbnail available

Win a $50k lesbian or gay wedding on the US East Coast

Enter by 14 of March so you and your partner can win a lavish wedding for you and 100 of your closest at Caesars Atlantic City in New Jersey, complete with everything from catering and photography to the bachelore or bachelorette parties
No thumbnail available

Gay man brutally beaten in Mississippi says assault was hate crime

Witness says attacker stomped his face into the ground while yelling 'Faggot!'
No thumbnail available

Soccer stars risks backlash by sailing in Amsterdam Pride

Dutch football team fights against homophobia in sport as they celebrate Gay Pride in the Netherlands
No thumbnail available

Graham Moore: Nope, he's not gay

Oscar winner's 'stay weird' speech after win for The Imitation Game screenplay led many to assume
No thumbnail available

Nine-year-old girl sends letter to Congress demanding they legalize same-sex marriage

'Would you rather me send letters all year? Or you listen the first time? Your choice'
No thumbnail available

New research says most sexually active gay men could still benefit from the HPV vaccine

Irish researchers have found that nearly half of HIV positive gay men would still benefit from receiving the HPV vaccine while 77% of HIV negative gay men would benefit
Stockholm to host Eurovision Song Contest in 2016

Stockholm to host Eurovision Song Contest in 2016

City also reveals plans for 4 new state of the art event venues in Stockholm Globe District
No thumbnail available

I would support a gay player, says former NFL star

New director of player development for the New York Giants, David Tyree, has a history of anti-gay comments, including advocating gay conversion therapy