BASIC (08-13)

GN 00210.100 Same-Sex Marriage - Benefits for Aged Spouses

A. Introduction

Because of the Windsor decision, we are now able to approve some spouse’s claims and appeals involving same-sex marriages.

In addition to the instructions below, applicants must meet all factors of entitlement before we approve the claim.

These instructions allow for payment of claims when the NH

  • was married in a state that permits same-sex marriage, and

  • is domiciled at the time of application, or while the claim is pending a final determination, in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.

(See list below for states that permit or recognize same-sex marriage.)

IMPORTANT: Review spouse claims and appeals that have been on hold for possible processing now.

B. Policy

1. Determining marital status

For evidence of a marriage, please follow current instructions on:

Use the “Date Same-Sex Marriages Were Permitted in the State” column of the chart below to confirm that the couple was married on or after the date when the state permitted same sex-marriages. Only the states on the list permit same-sex marriages.

If the couple married in a state that currently recognizes same-sex marriages, but the couple was married before the date the state permitted same-sex marriages (in the “Date Same-Sex Marriages Were Permitted in the State” column of the chart), hold the claim as set out in GN 00210.005.

NOTE: If the ceremonial marriage occurred outside the U.S., follow instructions in GN 00210.006 to request a legal opinion to determine marriage validity.

NOTE: If the couple resides in a state that converted same-sex civil unions to marriages, and the couple initially entered a civil union, hold claims as set out in GN 00210.005.

NOTE: Hold claims alleging a non-ceremonial marriage as set out in GN 00210.005.

NOTE: If a member of the couple alleges a prior civil union to an individual other than his or her current spouse, hold the claim as set out in GN 00210.005.

State

Date Same-Sex Marriages from Any Other State Was Recognized

Date Same-Sex Marriages Were Permitted in the State

California

June 17, 2008 – November 4, 2008

June 26, 2013 - present

June 17, 2008 – November 4, 2008

June 26, 2013 - present

Connecticut

November 12, 2008

November 12, 2008

Delaware

July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013

District of Columbia

July 7, 2009

March 9, 2010

Hawaii

December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

Illinois

Will be recognized beginning June 1, 2014

December 16, 2013

Iowa

April 30, 2009

April 20, 2009

Maine

December 29, 2012

December 29, 2012

Maryland

February 23, 2010

January 1, 2013

Massachusetts

May 17, 2004

May 17, 2004

Minnesota

August 1, 2013

August 1, 2013

New Hampshire

January 1, 2010

January 1, 2010

New Jersey

Continue to hold per instructions in GN 00210.005.

October 21, 2013

New Mexico

January 4, 2011

August 21, 2013
Per GN 00210.005, hold all claims in which same-sex couples allege a ceremonial marriage in New Mexico based on a marriage license issued by Sandoval County in 2004.

New York

February 1, 2008

July 24, 2011

Oregon

October 16, 2013

Oregon does not permit same-sex marriage

Rhode Island

May 14, 2012

August 1, 2013

Vermont

September 1, 2009

September 1, 2009

Washington

December 6, 2012

December 6, 2012

2. Determining domicile

Determine the NH’s domicile at the time the claimant filed the application or while the claim is pending a final determination. See information on determining family status in GN 00305.001 and information on spouses in RS 00202.001.

a. NH domiciled in the same state where the marriage was performed

  1. If the NH was domiciled in one of the states that has a date listed in “Date Same Sex Marriages Were Permitted in the State” column of the chart before a final determination; and

  2. The application date is on or after the date that same sex marriage was permitted in the state of domicile; proceed to GN 00210.100B.3. Determining the Duration of Marriage.

  3. If not, hold the claim as set out in GN 00210.005.

b. NH is not domiciled in the same state where the marriage was performed

  1. If the NH was married in one of the states listed in the chart on or after the date shown in the “Date Same-Sex Marriages Were Permitted in the States” column; and

  2. The NH was domiciled in one of the states that has a date listed in the “Date Same-Sex Marriages from Any States Recognized” column in the chart above before a final determination; and

  3. The application date is on or after the date that the state of domicile recognized same-sex marriages from any state; proceed to GN 00210.100B.3. “Determining Duration of Marriage.”

  4. If not, hold the claim as set out in GN 00210.005.

3. Determining duration of marriage

To develop duration of marriage, see instructions in RS 00202.001B.

A claimant for spouse’s benefits must meet the 1-year duration of marriage requirement prior to adjudication of the claim.

NOTE: Do not consider the date of the Windsor decision in determining the duration of marriage. Rather, rely on the date the couple was married.

4. Date of filing and month of entitlement

For new and pending claims, follow procedures for determining month of entitlement based on date of filing of application as described in GN 00204.007. Do not consider the date of the Windsor decision when determining month of entitlement. Do not use the date of the Windsor decision to determine date of entitlement. (Follow established policy on protective filing as in GN 00204.010.)

C. Procedure

When all entitlement factors listed in RS 00202.001 and described above are met, take the following steps to approve the claim:

1. In the field office and workload support unit (WSU)

  • Take the claims in MCS.

  • Enter 626M in the first four positions of the unit field on the DW01 screen.

  • Add Listing Code 626 on the DECI screen.

  • The claim will not process through EC; you will receive this edit: “SPOUSE SEX EQUALS NH SEX.” Process the claim using an A101/EF101.

  • On the Account Data (ACCT) Screen of the A101/EF101, enter a “Y” in the Critical Case field.

  • Annotate “626 Case” on the BCRN/EFBCRN screen.

    NOTE: See SM 00385.445 for HI/SMI enrollment entries

  • Monitor the case to ensure that it is processed to completion.

If the case has not been processed timely based on Month of Election (MOE) and Current Operating Month (COM) use Manager to Manager, critical request (PR Problem) to follow-up with the PC.

2. In the processing center

  • A101/EF101 is routed to the BA for review (follow established local procedures for routing).

  • Establish a PCACS listing code “626”.

  • If there are no discrepancies/issues, the BA is to propagate the A101/EF101 into MACADE, process the claim and send a notice.

  • If there are discrepancies/issues the BA routes the claim to the CA for review/resolution.

  • Once discrepancies/issues are resolved, the CA routes the claim to the BA for processing as stated above.

D. Examples

1. Examples of approvals

The following are examples of claims that you can adjudicate under the rules in this section.

  • Liz (the claimant) and Allison (the NH) marry in Massachusetts (MA) after MA recognizes same-sex marriage. They are domiciled in MA. Liz files for spouse’s benefits on Allison’s record while they are domiciled in MA. They meet all other factors of entitlement. Approve the claim.

  • Richard (the claimant) and Melvin (the NH) marry in MA after MA recognizes same-sex marriage. Richard moves and becomes domiciled in California (CA). Melvin remains domiciled in MA. Richard files for spouse’s benefits on Melvin’s record. They meet all other factors of entitlement. Approve the claim.

  • Jennifer (the claimant) and Ellie (the NH) marry in MA after MA recognizes same-sex marriage. Jennifer and Ellie move and become domiciled in California (CA). Jennifer files for spouse’s benefits on Ellie’s record. They meet all other factors of entitlement. Approve the claim.

  • Colton (the claimant) and Carson (the NH) marry in MA after MA recognizes same-sex marriage. Colton moves and becomes domiciled in Texas (TX). Carson remains domiciled in MA. Colton files for spouse’s benefits on Carson’s record. They meet all other factors of entitlement. Approve the claim.

  • Susan (the claimant) and Gail (the NH) are domiciled and marry in MA after MA recognizes same-sex marriage. Susan files for spouse’s benefits on Gail’s record while domiciled in MA. While the application is pending, Susan and Gail move to and become domiciled in Texas (TX). They meet all other factors of entitlement. Approve the claim because when the claim was filed, Susan and Gail were domiciled in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. Use the date of filing in MA to determine month of entitlement.

  • James (the claimant) and Sheldon (the NH) are domiciled in TX and marry while on vacation in MA after MA recognizes same-sex marriage. James files for spouse’s benefits on Sheldon’s record while domiciled in TX. While the application is pending, James and Sheldon move to and become domiciled in MA. They meet all other factors of entitlement. Approve the claim because while the claim was pending a final determination James and Sheldon became domiciled in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. Use the date of filing in TX to determine month of entitlement.

2. Examples of holds

The following are examples of claims that you should hold as set out in GN 00210.005.

  • Brad (the claimant) and George (the NH) marry in MA after MA recognizes same-sex marriage. They were domiciled in MA. They move to and become domiciled in Texas (TX). Brad files for spouses benefits on George’s record while they are domiciled in TX. They meet all other factors of entitlement. Hold the claim.

  • Sarah (the claimant) and Wanda (the NH) marry in MA after MA recognizes same-sex marriage. They were domiciled in MA. Wanda then moves and becomes domiciled in TX while Sarah remains domiciled in MA. Sarah files for spouse’s benefits on Wanda’s record. They meet all other factors of entitlement. Hold the claim.

  • Shawn (the claimant) and Sam (the NH) marry in MA after MA recognizes same-sex marriage, but are domiciled Texas (TX). Shawn files for spouse’s benefits on Sam’s record. They meet all other factors of entitlement. Hold the claim.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200210100
GN 00210.100 - Same-Sex Marriage - Benefits for Aged Spouses - 03/11/2014
Batch run: 03/11/2014
Rev:03/11/2014