Ceremonial marriage, common-law marriage (non-ceremonial), or deemed marriage based
on a legal impediment
Did the couple have a ceremonial marriage, common-law marriage (non-ceremonial), or
If yes, refer to the instructions listed below to determine marital status, then go to step
If no, refer to GN 00210.020B for systems instructions to deny the claim.
If the couple had a ceremonial marriage, obtain proof of marriage according to instructions
Widow(er)'s Benefits - Table of Proofs and Development – Policy (RS 00207.004)
Evidence Requirements for the Lump-Sum Death Payment (LSDP) (RS 00210.005)
For information about when States and U.S. Territories permitted same-sex marriages,
refer to GN 00210.003.
Common-law marriage (non-ceremonial)
If the couple alleges a same-sex common-law marriage, refer the claim for a legal
opinion, according to instructions in GN 01010.815. Exception – New Hampshire same-sex common-law marriages may be recognized without
referring the claim for a legal opinion. For more information about New Hampshire
common-law marriage laws, refer to GN 00305.075. For more information about common-law marriage, refer to GN 00305.060 and GN 00305.065.
If the couple alleges having a deemed marriage based upon a legal impediment, refer
to GN 00305.055 for more information.