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Jul 1, 2019

Application of the Social Security Act to Same-Sex Partners

The new social security contribution and pension rates came into effect today. The number of persons retiring is growing annually, pushing the Social Security Fund closer to the ‘period of equilibrium’ where total income equals total expenditure.  In order to avoid a financial crash, a reform was approved where revenue is higher than the cost needed to be maintained. The new rates will increase in three phases. Currently, the contribution rate stands at eight percent. It has increased by point five percent as of today. It should be nine percent in 2020 and ten percent in 2021. But there is a marginalized group of people who are concerned that their contributions would never be enjoyed by their spouses if they were to die before retirement age.  Gay couples, who are engaged in a common-law union, are not recognized as a couple by law. Executive Director for UNIBAM, Caleb Orozco, wrote to the C.E.O. Doctor Colin Young in 2016.  Doctor Young responded almost a year later saying that the law does not recognize same-sex couples and as such the Board’s hands are tied.

 

Caleb Orozco

Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM

“One of the sad things about Social Security is that we realized that they welcome our money but they don’t welcome us in law. We also realized that their legal advice is flawed. Constitution especially under sixteen one-two-and three is clear about discriminatory practice and differential treatment but they seem to have become absent minded about sixteen-one-two and three and their responsibility for upholding equal treatment under the law when it comes to accessing benefits as it applies to same sex couples. They are speaking about the idea that they can’t do anything about it, but it is their responsibility to reform social security. So, to absolve themselves and responsibility while robbing us is not an excuse. Separately the idea that they have to wait for a court decision around Section Fifty-three in completely ludicrous because Section Fifty has nothing to do with the responsibility to ensure equity and equal treatment under the law. We have a group of people who are asking us to pay into a system that is treating us differently and asking us to accept marginalization and different treatment because they need to ensure that they don’t go bankrupt. For me fair is fair. If we have economic rights, this should be a no brainer for those who are on the board, for the C.E.O. and for the Chair. Especially the Chair who knows what it means to ensure that social security provides support for everyone and not just some people.”


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