U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) recently announced that the same marriage benefits that heterosexual military families enjoy will now be extended to same-sex military couples. This will allow the spouses of gay and lesbian servicemembers and U.S. civilians working at military bases in South Korea to shop at the commissary and post exchanges.
Following the June decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, USFK has struggled to introduce benefits to same-sex couples in a country where gay marriage is banned. Shortly after the ruling, the USFK granted same-sex military spouses the majority of basic military benefits, according to Stars and Stripes, but two critical benefits remained entangled in red tape: ration privileges and A-3 visas for personal employees, attendants or servants of A-visa holders.
The delay in full benefits is largely due to negotiations that must take place with South Korea’s government that governs a majority of these benefits. In a statement on November 26, the USFK announced that the ration and visa benefits were now applicable to same-sex spouses. No direct details were given as to why the sudden allowance, but the USFK has stated that it will be proactive in assisting with visa applications. For those who have begun receiving the benefits it is a welcome change.
With the changes in same-sex benefit laws, applying for disability benefits and ensuring your dependants and survivors also receive the benefits they are entitled can still be a challenge. The Law Offices of Veterans Help Group, PA are here to help on your behalf. For help appealing a VA decision regarding your service-connected disability or for help with the benefit available to veterans’ families, contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today – 1-855-855-8992.