India and Vance had been married for 27 years at his death. When she turned 62 she obtained widows benefits. Social Security requires as part of the application for Widows benefits that she reveal proof of marriage. India might not find her marital relationship certificate. She asked for a copy from the Bureau of Essential Stats in the state where she and Vance were wed and was informed they had no record of her marriage. What does she do now?
Social Security tries to help people who are obtaining advantages in any method that they can to get the documentation a claimant requirements to get benefits. When you can not offer primary documents when applying for advantages they will take secondary evidence of entitlement. In this circumstance, Social Security guidelines specify that they will accept the following as alternate proof of ceremonial marriage:
– A signed declaration from the clergy or other authorities who performed the marital relationship; or
In the circumstances of exact same sex marriage, a complaintant for advantages can not fulfill the gender-based meaning of partner required of the federal law. For all functions relating to Social Security declares a person that does not meet the definition of a partner is ineligible for advantages even though they wed in a state that recognizes exact same sex marriages.
There are also policies and case law which show how to provide evidence of common law marriage. There are few circumstances that have actually not been at issue with Social Security. If you are having problems showing your case, consult with legal counsel experienced in managing social security cases. You can appeal any choice social security makes on your claim for benefits.