Federal marriage benefits? Not for everyone

WASHINGTON (AP) — Like other married couples, people in same-sex marriages are about to learn that the federal benefits and tax breaks associated with being married might not be all they’re cracked up to be.

Social Security benefits for spouses can be generous, but only for couples with big disparities in their incomes.

Taxes are a decidedly mixed bag, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions for the Internal Revenue Service.

Many middle-income couples should get welcome tax breaks now that they can change their filing status from “single” to “married filing jointly.” But those at the top and bottom of the income scale could face significant tax increases.

Low-income people also could lose safety-net benefits like Medicaid and the earned income tax credit if a spouse’s higher income disqualifies them.

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