PR 07205.004 Arizona
A. PR 01-209 Use of Benefits by Representative Payee
DATE: July 24, 2001
Under Arizona law, a beneficiary's spouse is considered to be legally dependent unless they are legally separated under a decree of dissolution of marriage or of separate maintenance.
The issue you presented is whether a spouse in Mexico is considered legally dependent under Arizona law.
SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE
The beneficiary is in a care facility in Arizona and his/her spouse is living in Mexico. The beneficiary's representative payee has inquired as to whether he/she may send money to the beneficiary's spouse in Mexico.
1. Social Security Regulations and POMS
If the current maintenance needs of a beneficiary are met, the payee may use part of the benefits for the support of the beneficiary's legally dependent spouse, child, and/or parent. 20 C.F.R. § 404.2040(c) (2000); POMS GN 00602.020A. State law determines dependency. POMS GN 00602.020B.
2. Arizona Law
The marital community continues to exist, together with its rights and obligations, even when the parties may be living separate and apart. Jurek v. Jurek, 124 Ariz. 596, 597, 606 P.2d 812, 813 (1980). The fact that the beneficiary's spouse is living in Mexico does not alter the rights and obligations of the parties.
The parties shall not be considered married if they are legally separated under a decree of dissolution of marriage or of separate maintenance. A.R.S. § 43-1002. However, there was no evidence to indicate that such an action has been filed.
The beneficiary's spouse in Mexico is considered legally dependent under Arizona law.