By Caitlyn Whitehead, Esq. Attorney, Lamson & Cutner, P.C. Married Couples Married couples seeking Medicaid coverage for home or nursing home care enjoy significant advantages that are not available to unmarried couples. On June 24, 2011, New York became the seventh jurisdiction in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriages. This development raised expectations that same-sex married couples would begin to enjoy the same Medicaid benefits as other married couples. However, because Medicaid is a joint federal and state funded program, there was initial concern that federal law might deny these benefits to same-sex married couples. The Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law, provides: “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” There is pending litigation regarding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the Obama administration and the Justice Department have announced that they will no longer defend the constitutionality of the Act. A bill has also been introduced in Congress to repeal the Act. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has ruled that states may disregard the Defense of Marriage Act and treat married same-sex couples as legal spouses under Medicaid rules. For example, states may “offer same-sex couples many of the...