TN 5 (01-14)

GN 00210.800 Same-Sex Marriages - Supplemental Security Income

A. Claims that can be processed using these instructions

Because of the Supreme Court decision in Windsor on June 26, 2013, we are now able to process some Supplemental Security Income (SSI) initial claims, appeals, and post-eligibility actions when an SSI claimant is in a same-sex marriage.

Follow these instructions to process initial SSI claims, appeals, and post-eligibility actions (including redeterminations) when an SSI claimant is:

  1. married for title II purposes; or

  2. legally married under the laws of the state where the SSI claimant and his or her same-sex spouse have their permanent home.

IMPORTANT: Review initial claims, appeals, and post-eligibility actions that have been on hold for possible processing now.

B. Claims that should be held under these instructions

Hold claims, appeals, and post-eligibility actions not covered by these instructions, per GN 00210.005, until we publish additional instructions.

Examples of claims, appeals and post-eligibility actions to hold:

  • An SSI claimant and his or her same-sex spouse's permanent home is currently in a state that does not recognize their marriage.

  • An SSI claimant made a permanent home for any months after June 2013 in a state that did not recognize his or her marriage.

  • An SSI claimant is living in the same household as another individual of the same sex, and they hold themselves out as married to the community.

  • An SSI claimant is a child whose eligibility or payment amount is dependent on a parent's same-sex marriage.

C. When to recognize a same-sex marriage for SSI purposes, such as eligibility and payment amount

For new and pending claims and appeals, we follow procedures for determining month of eligibility based on the date of application as described in GN 00204.007. We will recognize a same-sex marriage for SSI purposes, consistently with these instructions, as early as the date of the application. For post-eligibility actions, we will recognize a same-sex marriage as of June 26, 2013, the date of the Supreme Court decision.

D. Determining a same-sex couple’s marital status for SSI purposes

1. Determine if the same-sex couple is married for title II purposes

Consider the claimant married if either the claimant or his or her spouse is married for title II purposes. Refer to the instructions for determining marital status in GN 00305.005.

2. Determine if the same-sex couple had a valid ceremonial marriage

a. Ceremonial marriage occurred in the United States

If the ceremonial marriage occurred in a state (including the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands),

  • Determine the couple’s marital status following the instructions in GN 00210.100.B.1.; and

  • Determine the location of the couple's permanent home following the instructions in GN 00305.001.

If you determine that the couple had a valid ceremonial marriage and the location of the couple’s permanent home is in a state listed in the chart for determining marital status in GN 00210.100B.1., then the couple is married for SSI purposes. Process the claim, appeal, or post-eligibility action using the instructions in GN 00210.800E in this section.

If you determine that the couple did not have a valid ceremonial marriage or that the location of the couple's permanent home is in a state that does not recognize their same-sex marriage, hold the claim, appeal, or post-eligibility action per GN 00210.005.

b. Ceremonial marriage occurred outside the U.S. (foreign marriage)

If the ceremonial marriage occurred outside the U.S., follow the instructions on same-sex marriages celebrated in foreign jurisdictions in GN 00210.006 to request a legal opinion about the marriage’s validity.

If the legal opinion states the marriage is valid for SSI purposes, process the claim, appeal, or post-eligibility action using the instructions in GN 00210.800E in this section.

If the legal opinion states that the marriage is not valid for SSI purposes, do not consider the couple married for SSI purposes.

E. Processing SSI claims, appeals, and post-eligibility actions

1. Initial SSI claims

Take the following steps to process the application.

  • Take the application in MSSICS and document the marriage on the AMAR screen.

  • Establish the SSR. The application will stay in payment status H80 because of the edit condition (ECI: CD), “sex for both members of a couple cannot be identical.”

  • Enter 626 in the first 3 positions of the unit field on the DW01 screen. Refer to the coding chart in GN 00210.005B.1. to enter the appropriate relationship code in the fourth position of the unit code.

a. Awards and favorable appeals

When the claimant meets all SSI eligibility factors and his or her claim, appeal, or post-eligibility action can be processed under these instructions, take the following steps to process the award:

  • Use the Force Due (M02) process to control the case and pay the individual. In order to obtain accurate payment information, you must manually perform an eComputation, and then save a copy of the eComputation in eView.

  • The SSR initially created from your MSSICS input will not generate payment computation information as it will remain in H80 status. For more information, refer to the instructions on force due and force payment work in SM 01701.001 and emergency message instructions in EM–13018 SEN.

  • In order to effectively track cases on the Force Pay Listing website, you must add a remark to the SSR exactly as follows using one of the five available remark lines: “M02 REQD-WINDSOR CASE MM/DD/YYYY.” (Use the date you post the remark as the date for the MM/DD/YYYY placeholder.) The RMKS FOUND column on the FO Case Listing will contain a “Yes” if the remark is posted properly. See MSOM MSSICS 023.003, SSR remarks (CRMK).

    NOTE: Since these cases will be in Force Due (M02) status, they will be listed on the Force Pay Listing website. The listings are updated quarterly. You must monitor these cases closely as the system will not automatically terminate the claimant's eligibility if a relevant period of ineligibility occurs.

b. Technical claim and appeal denials

Use the force due process in SM 01701.001 to process the technical claim denial when the SSI claimant is ineligible due to deeming from the same-sex spouse.

c. Notices

Force pay actions will not generate automated notices to the claimant. Therefore, you must send the claimant one of the manual notices below using the document process system (DPS), and send the notice to the Online Retrieval System (ORS) to be stored.

2. Post-eligibility actions

Process post-eligibility actions due to a change in marital status when the SSI claimant:

  • is married for title II purposes; or

  • is legally married (or his or her marriage terminates) under the laws of the state where the SSI claimant and his or her same-sex spouse have their permanent home.

NOTE: If both an SSI claimant and his or her same-sex spouse move to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, hold post-eligibility actions involving marital status following the instructions in GN 00210.005.

Take the following steps to process the post-eligibility action due to a change in marital status.

  • Collect all necessary technical (i.e., non-medical) information and proofs.

  • Update the appropriate screens including the AMAR screen, all applicable living arrangement screens, and the spouse's income and resource paths.

  • Enter 626 in the first 3 positions of the unit field on the DW01 screen. Refer to the coding chart in GN 00210.005B.1. to enter the appropriate relationship code in the fourth position of the unit code.

  • Add a remark to the SSR indicating “Windsor Case”. See MSOM MSSICS 023.003, SSR remarks (CRMK).

  • Use the Force Due (M02) process to control the case. Refer to SM 01701.001 and EM–13018 SEN for more information.

  • In order to obtain accurate payment information, you must manually perform an eComputation and then save a copy of the eComputation in NDRed. Refer to SM 01701.001 and EM–13018 SEN for more information.

  • NOTE: Since these cases will be in Force Due (M02) status, they will be listed on the Force Pay Listing website. The listings are updated quarterly. You must monitor these cases closely as the system will not automatically terminate the claimant's eligibility if a period of ineligibility occurs.

  • In order to effectively track cases on the Force Pay Listing website, you must add a remark to the SSR exactly as follows using one of the five available remark lines: “M02 REQD-WINDSOR CASE MM/DD/YYYY.” (Use the date you post the remark as the date for the MM/DD/YYYY placeholder.) The RMKS FOUND column on the FO Case Listing will contain a “Yes” if the remark is posted properly. See MSOM MSSICS 023.003, SSR remarks (CRMK).

F. References

  • GN 00210.001 Windsor Same-Sex Marriage Claims--Introduction

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

  • GN 00210.010 Interviewing Individuals with Claims Involving Same-Sex Relationships

  • GN 00305.001 Determining Family Status

  • GN 00305.005 Determining Marital Status

  • SI 00501.000 Eligibility Under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Provisions

  • SI 00602.001 The Abbreviated Application Process

  • SM 01701.001 How Force Due and Force Payment Work

  • EM–13018 SEN Instructions for Force Due/M02 2-PIN Processing and Systems Modifications for Force Due/M01 Cases.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200210800
GN 00210.800 - Same-Sex Marriages - Supplemental Security Income - 01/09/2014
Batch run: 01/09/2014
Rev:01/09/2014