TN 10 (06-14)

GN 00210.400 Same-Sex Marriage - Benefits for Surviving Spouses

A. Introduction to policy and procedures for same-sex surviving spouse claims

Because of the Windsor decision, we are now able to process many surviving spouse (widow and widower) claims involving same-sex marriages and non-marital legal relationships, including Title II benefit claims restricted to “Medicare-only.”

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

B. Instructions for same-sex surviving spouse claims: determining the status and duration of the relationship

Use these steps to process same-sex surviving spouse claims.

Step

Action

1

In the field office (FO) and workload support unit (WSU):

  • Establish the claim in MCS.

  • Follow established policy on protective filing as in GN 00204.010. Do not consider the date of the Windsor decision when determining a protective filing date.

Go to step 2.

2

Consult GN 00210.002, GN 00210.004, and GN 00210.006 to determine if we will recognize the marriage or non-marital legal relationship for the purposes of Title II and Medicare benefits.

If you determine that we will recognize for the purposes of Title II and Medicare benefits the same-sex marriage or non-marital legal relationship, go to step 3.

If you determine that we will not recognize for the purposes of Title II and Medicare benefits the same-sex marriage or non-marital legal relationship, go to GN 00210.020C for systems instructions to deny the claim.

3

Does the claimant meet the duration of marriage requirement as set out in RS 00207.001.A.1.a?

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.

If yes, go to GN 00210.400C.

If no, go to step 4.

4

Does the claimant allege

  • that the relationship began as a non-marital legal relationship that later converted to a marriage, or

  • more than one non-marital legal relationship or

  • a combination of one or more non-marital legal relationships and marriages to the NH,

which may, in total, equal or exceed 9 months?

If yes, refer this claim to the ORCC for legal opinion.

If no, go to step 5.

5

Does the claimant meet one of the conditions in RS 00207.001A.1.a.8 or in RS 00207.001A.1.a.9 as alternatives to the 9-month duration of marriage requirement?

If yes, go to GN 00210.400C.

If no, go to step 6.

6

Is it possible that the claimant meets one of the alternatives to the 9-month duration of marriage requirement in RS 00207.001A.1.a.3. through RS 00207.001A.1.a.7?

If yes, hold the claim, following instructions in GN 00210.005.

If no, go to step 7.

7

Does the claimant meet one of the conditions in GN 00305.100A.2 allowing us to deem the 9-month duration of marriage requirement?

If yes, go to GN 00210.400C.

If no, go to GN 00210.020C for systems instructions to deny the claim.

C. Instructions for same-sex surviving spouse claims: determining other factors of entitlement

Use these steps to determine other factors of entitlement for same-sex surviving spouse claims.

Step

Action

1

Has the claimant remarried, since the NH’s death?

If yes, hold the claim per GN 00210.005.

If no, go to step 2.

2

Does the claimant meet all other requirements for surviving spouse benefits, according to RS 00207.001 and DI 10110.001?

If yes, go to GN 00210.020B for systems instructions to process an award.

If no, go to GN 00210.020C for systems instructions to deny the claim.

D. References

  • GN 00204.010 Protective Filing

  • GN 00210.002 Same-Sex Marriage - Determining Marital Status for Title II and Medicare Benefits

  • GN 00210.003 Same-Sex Marriage –Dates States Permitted or Recognized Same-Sex Marriage

  • GN 00210.005 Holding Claims, Appeals, and Post-Entitlement Actions Involving Same-Sex Marriages or Legal Same-Sex Relationships other than Marriage

  • RS 00207.001 Widow(er)'s Benefits Definitions and Requirements

  • RS 00207.003 How Remarriage Affects Widow(er)’s Benefits

  • RS 00207.004 Widow(er)'s Benefits - Table of Proofs and Development - Policy

  • RS 00207.020 Health Insurance (HI) for Disabled Widow(er)s

  • DI 10110.001 Requirements for Disabled Widow(er)’s Benefits (DWB)


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200210400
GN 00210.400 - Same-Sex Marriage - Benefits for Surviving Spouses - 08/11/2014
Batch run: 09/08/2014
Rev:09/08/2014