Veteran's Spousal Benefits (POD Rule)
The Attorney General stated that the DOJ will no longer enforce statutory language governing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) that restricts the awarding of spousal benefits to opposite-sex marriages only. The language, contained within Title 38 of the U.S. Code, has, until now, prevented the Executive Branch from providing spousal benefits to veterans—and in some instances active-duty service members and reservists—who are in same-sex marriages recognized under state law.
The VA is currently using the "place of domicile" to determine whether a marriage is recognized--either the laws of the place of domicile of either spouse at the time of marriage or by the law of the place of domicile at the time the claimant became eligible for benefits.
Senators Mark Udall and Jeanne Shaheen have introduced legislation in Congress to change the statute so that the VA can recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, regardless of where the couple resides.
The Acting Secretary of Veteran's Affairs signed a policy decision memorandum exercising discretionary authority to designate individuals as eligible for burial in a national cemetery on a case-by-case basis, when there is evidence of a "committed relationship."