Same-sex domestic partners of military servicemembers will soon be issued government-issued identification cards entitling them to a number of benefits, according to a report from The Washington Times.
An internal personnel notice posted to the web Thursday states the military’s commitment to upgrade their systems “so that eligible SSDPs and their families can begin receiving benefits/ID cards” beginning on Sept. 1.
From The Times:
The ID card Web notice refers to same-sex domestic partners as “SSDPs.”
The benefits include education, survivor, commissary, travel, counseling and transportation, but not what some consider the armed forces’ premium perks — health care and housing allowances.
The move comes after former defence Secretary Leon Panetta announced he would lift the ban on same-sex partners receiving benefits days before he left office in February, CNN reports.
“These benefits shall be extended to the same-sex domestic partners and, where applicable, children of same-sex domestic partners, once the service member and their same-sex domestic partner have signed a declaration attesting to the existence of their committed relationship,” Panetta said in a statement at the time.
In order to receive the benefits, most couples need to sign a “declaration of domestic partnership,” which states: “We are each other’s sole domestic partner, in a committed relationship, and intend to remain so indefinitely.”
The Pentagon told Times reporters they estimate there are about 17,000 same-sex couples on active duty, reserve, or retired.
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