TN 27 (02-16)

GN 00210.505 Same-Sex Relationships – Child’s Benefits Based on a Stepchild Relationship

Follow these instructions when entitlement to benefits as a stepchild depends on the number holder's (NH) same-sex marriage or non-marital legal relationship (NMLR) with the child’s parent or adoptive parent.

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

IMPORTANT: Do not use these instructions if the NH is the biological or adoptive parent of the child seeking benefits. Child benefits can be awarded on that NH’s record. For more information about how a child may qualify as the NH's child for purposes of entitlement to benefits, refer to GN 00306.001.

A. Entitlement based on a stepchild relationship involving a same-sex marriage or NMLR

Determine the child's entitlement to benefits as the NH’s stepchild:

  • Consult GN 00210.002, GN 00210.004, or GN 00210.006 to determine if we will recognize the marriage or the NMLR of the NH and the child's parent.

  • Determine that the child meets all entitlement factors and the stepchild relationship requirements. For more information about duration requirements for a stepchild relationship and dependency requirements, refer to GN 00306.230 and GN 00306.232.

B. Determining entitlement to child’s benefits based on the parent’s same-sex relationship

When you determine entitlement to child’s benefits that depends on the parent’s same-sex relationship, you must determine the:

  • relationship between the child and the parent or adoptive parent;

  • relationship between the NH and the child’s parent or adoptive parent;

  • the duration of a stepchild relationship; and

  • the dependency requirement for the child.

1. Steps to determine the relationship between the child and the parent or adoptive parent

Use the steps in this chart to establish and document ONLY the relationship between the child and his or her parent or adoptive parent:

Step

Action

1

Is the claimant alleging he or she is a stepchild of the NH based on the NH’s same-sex marriage or NMLR to the child’s parent or adoptive parent?

If yes, go to step 2.

If no, do not apply these instructions to determine the parent-child relationship. For policy related to establishing other parent-child relationships with the NH, refer to GN 00306.001.

2

Adoptive parent

Is the parent-child relationship based on an adoption that occurred prior to the adoptive parent’s marriage to the NH?

If yes, go to step 3.

If no, go to step 4.

3

Evidence of the child’s relationship to the adoptive parent

Do you have evidence of the child’s relationship to the adoptive parent per GN 00306.155?

If yes, go to GN 00210.505B.2. in this subsection to document the relationship between the NH and the child’s adoptive parent.

If no, check PR 00905.000 for a legal precedent opinion for the state(s) at issue. If no opinion exists, refer the claim for a legal opinion, according to instructions in GN 01010.815.

4

Acceptable evidence to establish the child’s relationship to the parent

Do you have evidence of the child's relationship to the parent per GN 00306.000?

If yes, go to GN 00210.505B.2. in this subsection to document the relationship between the NH and the child’s parent.

If no, check PR 00905.000 for a legal precedent opinion for the state at issue. If no opinion exists, refer the claim for a legal opinion, according to instructions in GN 01010.815.

2. Relationship between the NH and the child’s parent or adoptive parent

To be entitled to child’s benefits as the NH’s stepchild, establish that the marriage or NMLR between the NH and the child’s parent or adoptive parent is valid using instructions in GN 00210.002, GN 00210.004, or GN 00210.006.

3. Duration of stepchild relationship

Use the steps in this chart to determine the duration of the stepchild relationship.

Step

Action

1

Is the NH living?

If yes, go to step 2.

If no, go to step 3.

2

NH is living

Was the marriage or NMLR between the child’s parent or adoptive parent and the NH established at least one year before the date of application for stepchild’s benefits?

REMINDER: Do not use the date of the Windsor or Obergefell Supreme Court decision in determining the duration of the stepchild relationship. Use the date the child’s parent or adoptive parent and the NH entered the marriage or NMLR.

If yes, go to GN 00210.505B.4. in this subsection to document the dependency requirement.

If no, go to step 4.

3

NH is deceased

Was the marriage or NMLR between the child’s parent or adoptive parent and the NH established at least 9 months before the death of the NH?

REMINDER: Do not use the date of the Windsor or Obergefell Supreme Court decision in determining the duration of the stepchild relationship. Use the date the child’s parent or adoptive parent and the NH entered the marriage or NMLR.

If yes, go to GN 00210.505B.4. in this subsection to document the dependency requirement.

If no, go to step 4.

4

Does the marriage or NMLR between the child’s parent or adoptive parent and the NH meet one of the exceptions to the duration requirement listed in GN 00305.100B.3.?

If yes, go to GN 00210.505B.4. in this subsection to document the dependency requirement.

If no, the duration of stepchild relationship requirement is not met.

4. Dependency requirement for the stepchild

The stepchild must have been receiving one-half support from the NH. For dependency requirements for a stepchild, refer to GN 00306.232.

For more information on determining one-half support, refer to RS 01301.000.

C. Effect of NH’s death, divorce, or annulment from child’s parent or adoptive parent

Death - Follow policy in GN 00306.230A.3.

Divorce or annulment - Request a legal opinion per GN 01010.815.

D. References


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200210505
GN 00210.505 - Same-Sex Marriage - Stepchild - 09/11/2014
Batch run: 02/08/2016
Rev:02/08/2016