WASHINGTON — Same-sex military couples will qualify for full benefits, including government-provided health-care and housing allowances, as long as they are legally married, under new rules announced by the Pentagon.
The requirement to be married is a shift for the Pentagon, which in February said full benefits would be provided to members of the military and same-sex spouses if they were in a “committed relationship.”
But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that finding a way for unmarried, long-term couples to qualify for benefits “is no longer necessary,” since a Supreme Court ruling in June struck down a federal law that barred married same-sex couples from obtaining federal benefits.
In addition to health-care and housing benefits, the new policy will allow same-sex couples to qualify for extra compensation when a spouse in the military is deployed and unable to live at home. It will also give same-sex spouses access to base facilities, including post exchanges.
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The benefit payments are retroactive to June 26, the date of the court ruling.