TN 27 (02-16)

GN 00210.420 Same-Sex Relationships - Mother’s and Father’s Benefits

Follow these instructions to determine entitlement to benefits for a same-sex surviving spouse (or surviving divorced spouse) who has the child of the deceased number holder (NH) in his or her care. The surviving spouse must meet all other factors for entitlement in RS 00208.000.

When you are ready to process the claim as an award or denial, follow the instructions in GN 00210.020.

A. How to determine if a same-sex surviving spouse who has the child of the deceased NH in his or her care is entitled to mother’s or father’s benefits

The claimant must meet the following four requirements:

1. Determine if the claimant is the NH’s surviving spouse

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

2. Determine if the claimant’s marriage or NMLR with the NH meets the duration of requirement

The claimant's marriage or NMLR meets the duration requirement if any of the following three conditions are true:

  1. The marriage or NMLR meets the 9-month duration requirement or can be deemed to have been met under the conditions in GN 00305.100; or

  2. The claimant and the NH were married when they jointly adopted a child under 18 years old, or either of them adopted the other’s child; or

  3. The claimant is entitled or potentially entitled to, or has applied for, any of these benefits or payments: widow(er)’s, spouse’s, parent’s, disabled child’s benefits (CDB), or annuity payments under the Railroad Retirement Act for widow(er)s, parents, or children age 18 or older; or the claimant was entitled to surviving spouse’s benefits for the month before the NH died.

If none of these three conditions are true, and the claimant alleges that he or she and the NH are parents of a child, check for an applicable precedent opinion in PR 05800.000 or PR 00900.000. If no applicable precedent opinion exists, refer the claim for a legal opinion about the alleged relationship.

For more information about parent-child relationships, refer to GN 00306.010 and GN 00306.001C.1.d. For instructions about how to refer a claim for legal opinion, refer to GN 01010.815.

3. Determine the claimant’s marital status

The claimant must be unmarried to receive mother’s or father’s benefits.

If the claimant alleges he or she is currently married, determine if the claimant's current spouse is entitled to RIB, DIB, or CDB or divorced spouse’s, surviving spouse’s, mother’s or father’s, or parent’s benefits. For more information about this exception to the requirement to be unmarried, refer to RS 00208.035B.2.

4. Determine if the claimant meets the child-in-care requirements

Determine if the claimant meets requirements to become entitled based on having a child-in-care as set out in RS 01310.000, and if the claimant meets any one of the following child-in-care requirements:

  • The alleged child in care is the child of the NH according to RS 00203.001C;

  • The alleged child in care is entitled to child’s benefits on the record of the deceased NH, even if the child receives benefits on another record. If applicable, follow current procedures for leads to determine if the child is entitled to a benefit; or

  • The child in care is under age 16 or disabled.

B. References