A marital relationship exists when two individuals resume living together after having
lived together previously as a married couple. In such a case, we presume that the
individuals are in a marital relationship unless they present evidence to the contrary.
Evidence to the contrary includes evidence of a divorce or the termination of a holding
out relationship. For example, if a divorced couple resume living together due to
illness or for economic reasons with no intention of resuming a marital relationship,
this represents evidence to the contrary.
If two individuals who previously lived together as a married couple resume living
together, review the facts of the case to make a new marital status determination.
If the couple are still legally married under the laws of the state where they make
their permanent home (Note: all states must permit and recognize same-sex marriages), and they resume living together after having lived apart, they are a married couple
for SSI purposes, regardless of the reason they resumed living together.
If the couple allege that they are legally separated, consider the couple to be married
since a legal marriage still exists.
NOTE: Legal separation does not imply that the couple are not living together.
If the couple allege that they are divorced, obtain a copy of the divorce decree.
Obtain signed statements from both individuals explaining why they are living together
(e.g., illness, economic reasons). Follow instructions in SI 00501.152 to determine if they are holding themselves out to the community as married.
If the couple allege that they are no longer holding themselves out as married, follow
instructions in SI 00501.152, Determining Whether Two Individuals Are Holding Themselves Out as a Married Couple.
Marie and Patrick divorced several years ago. Recently, Patrick became ill. Marie,
who is an SSI recipient, moved to Patrick's home to provide care during his illness.
Marie informed Social Security about the change of address. Patrick filed for SSI
benefits and informed the claims representative about their divorce and the current
living arrangement. Because Marie and Patrick are living together, the claims representative
followed instructions in SI 00501.152 to determine if they are holding themselves out as married. Neither Marie nor Patrick
presents them as married, and there is no indication of a holding-out relationship.
Therefore, Patrick is an eligible individual.