TN 47 (02-16)

GN 00305.005 Determining Marital Status

Citations:

Act-section 216(h)(l), P.L. 104-199, Regulations No. 4-Sections

404.344, 404.723 - 404.728, 404.732

A. Types of marital relationships

In determining whether a claimant qualifies as a spouse under the Social Security Act, consider all of the following types of marital relationships:

Types of Marital Relationships

For more information, refer to these instructions

Valid ceremonial marriage

GN 00305.020 through GN 00305.030

Common-law marriage

GN 00305.060 and GN 00305.065

Non-marital legal relationships (e.g., civil unions, domestic partnerships) for same-sex couples

GN 00210.004 (same-sex couples)

Non-marital legal relationships (e.g., civil unions, domestic partnerships) for opposite-sex couples

Refer the claim for a legal opinion, according to instructions in GN 01010.815 if no applicable legal opinion is published in PR 05800.000.

Putative marriage

GN 00305.085

Deemed marriage

GN 00305.055

Indian tribal or custom marriage

GN 00305.090

Chinese custom marriage

GN 00305.095

B. Determining marital status

1. Using State law to determine the validity of a marriage

The law of the place where a marriage occurred ordinarily determines the validity of a marriage. If the marriage is valid in the state where celebrated, other states usually recognize the marriage to be valid. However, even though the marriage was valid where it was celebrated, it may be void in the state of the worker's domicile if it violates the law or public policy of that state. See GN 00305.001B for definitions of state and domicile.

Examples of marriages that might violate the law or public policy of the worker’s state of domicile are marriages involving people under a certain age, polygamous marriages, or when recognition is otherwise prohibited by the Uniform Marriage Evasion Act. For more information about this Act and which states it applies to, refer to GN 00305.155. For more information about proof of marital relationships and when states recognize or do not recognize a marriage, refer to GN 00305.000 et seq.

2. Foreign polygamous marriage

Some states may consider a foreign polygamous marriage contracted in a jurisdiction that recognizes such marriages valid to the extent that the spouses share equally in the intestate personal property of the worker. Obtain a legal opinion following instructions in GN 01010.815 if the claim is based on a foreign polygamous marriage and no applicable legal opinion is published in PR 05300.000.

3. Marriage license requirements

Most states require that persons who intend to contract a ceremonial marriage obtain a license. However, a marriage could be valid under state law even if the parties did not obtain a license.

4. Same-sex relationships

For more information about determining marital status for same-sex relationships, refer to GN 00210.000.

5. Transgender individuals and claims

a. Determine if the claim involves a transgender individual

A transgender individual is a person whose gender identity is different from his or her sex as assigned at birth and identified in the original birth certificate.

You may become aware that the claim involves a transgender individual from information on an amended birth certificate, the Numident, or information volunteered during an interview.

IMPORTANT: If the Numident shows a different name than the one the alleged, follow procedures in GN 00203.008, GN 00203.020, and RM 10212.001 to verify the individual's identity.

b. Determine if the relationship is between two people of the same-sex or opposite-sex

If the claim involves a transgender individual ask the claimant “Did you enter a same-sex or an opposite-sex marriage?” and accept the claimant's answer.

  • If the answer is “same- sex”, process the claim using the same-sex relationships instructions in GN 00210.000.

  • If answer is “opposite-sex”, process the claim using instructions in GN 00305.000.

NOTE: MCS will automatically generate a BIC based on the information shown in the sex field on the APPL screen in the claim. Be sure that the NUMI reflects the correct sex. If the sex is incorrect on the NUMI, take corrective action via SSNAP to change it. For more information, refer to RM 10212.200.

You may process the claim as an opposite-sex marriage, but the data in the claim may show two spouses of the same sex. Manually process the claim via an A101 and input the correct BIC on the INTE screen.

6. Intersex individuals and claims

a. Determine if the claim involves an intersex individual

An intersex individual is a person whose sexual or reproductive anatomy or chromosomal pattern does not seem to fit typical definitions of male or female or who has some sexual characteristics (e.g., external genitalia, chromosomes, or internal reproductive systems) that are typically associated with males and some sexual characteristics that are typically associated with females.

You may become aware that the claim involves an intersex individual from information on an amended birth certificate, the Numident, or information volunteered during an interview.

b. Determine if the relationship is between two people of the same-sex or opposite-sex

If the claim involves an intersex individual, ask the claimant “Did you enter a same-sex or an opposite-sex marriage?” and accept the claimant's answer.

  • If the answer is “same- sex”, process the claim using the same-sex relationships instructions in GN 00210.000.

  • If answer is “opposite-sex”, process the claim using instructions in GN 00305.000.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200305005
GN 00305.005 - Determining Marital Status - 03/26/2014
Batch run: 02/05/2016
Rev:02/05/2016