PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEMPart GN – GeneralChapter 003 – EvidenceSubchapter 05 – Proof of Marital RelationshipTransmittal No. 52, 05/20/2020
This is a Quick Action Transmittal . These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure. We corrected the PR POMS reference in the chart under “Non-marital legal relationships (e.g., civil unions, domestic partnerships) for opposite-sex couples”.
Summary of Changes
GN 00305.005 Determining Marital Status
A. Types of relationships
We corrected the PR reference in this sentence, "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” to “PR 05005.000"
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
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
EXCEPTION: California domestic partnerships if at least one individual is age 62 or older and meets the eligibility requirements for old-age Social Security insurance benefits (see PR 05005.006). If these requirements are not met, refer the claim for a legal opinion.
Indian tribal or custom 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.
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.
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.
For more information about determining marital status for same-sex relationships, refer to GN 00210.000.
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.
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.
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.
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.