TN 24 (02-16)

GN 00210.006 Same-Sex Marriages and Non-Marital Legal Relationships Established in Foreign Jurisdictions

A. Recognition of same-sex marriages and non-marital legal relationships (NMLRs) established in foreign jurisdictions

Use the instructions in this section to determine the marital status of couples in same-sex marriages and same-sex NMLRs established in foreign jurisdictions.

1. Title II and Medicare

We recognize same-sex marriages and some NMLRs established in foreign jurisdictions as marriages for Title II and Medicare entitlement purposes.

To determine if we recognize a same-sex marriage or a NMLR as a marriage established in a foreign jurisdiction, follow instructions GN 00210.006B in this section.

2. Title XVI

For Title XVI eligibility and payment amount purposes, we recognize same-sex marriages established in foreign jurisdictions. We recognize NMLRs established in foreign jurisdictions when one member of the couple is entitled to Title II benefits as the spouse of the other member of the couple. If a couple holds themselves out to the community as married, the couple is married for Title XVI purposes.

To determine if we recognize a same-sex marriage or a NMLR established in a foreign jurisdiction, follow instructions GN 00210.006C in this section.

For more information about determining marital status for purposes of Title XVI and holding out, refer to GN 00210.800 and SI 00501.152.

B. Steps to determine if we recognize a same-sex marriage or a NMLR established in a foreign jurisdiction for Title II and Medicare

Follow these steps to determine if we recognize a same-sex marriage or a NMLR established in a foreign jurisdiction.

Step

Action

1

Marriage or NMLR established in a foreign jurisdiction

Does the claimant allege a same-sex marriage or NMLR established in a foreign jurisdiction? A foreign jurisdiction, for Title II and Medicare, is somewhere other than:

  • the 50 United States,

  • the District of Columbia,

  • the U.S. Virgin Islands,

  • Puerto Rico,

  • Guam,

  • American Samoa, and

  • the Northern Mariana Islands.

If yes, go to step 2.

If no, do not follow these instructions. Instead, refer to instructions for determining marital status for same-sex marriages or NMLRs established in a U.S. jurisdiction in GN 00210.002 and GN 00210.004. To determine marital status for opposite-sex couples, refer to GN 00305.005.

2

Prior Non-marital legal relationship (NMLR)

Does the claimant or number holder (NH) allege having established any prior NMLR with an individual other than his or her current spouse?

If yes, check for an applicable precedent opinion in PR 05800.000. If no applicable precedent opinion exists, refer the case for a legal opinion on the possible effect of the prior relationship, using the instructions in GN 01010.815. Then, go to step 7.

If no, go to step 3.

3

Foreign Ceremonial marriage

Did the couple allege having a foreign ceremonial same–sex marriage?

If yes, obtain proof of marriage as set out below. Then, go to step 5.

If no, go to step 4.

Proof of marriage

Use the following instructions to obtain proof of marriage:

4

Foreign non-ceremonial marriage (for example, common-law marriage), deemed marriage, or NMLR?

Did the couple allege having a foreign non-ceremonial same-sex marriage (for example, common-law or other marriage according to local custom), a deemed marriage, or a NMLR?

If yes, check for an applicable precedent opinion in PR 05800.000. If no applicable precedent opinion exists, refer the case for legal opinion, according to instructions in GN 01010.815. Then, go to step 7.

NOTE: The opinion must address if the non-ceremonial marriage, deemed marriage, or NMLR was permitted in the foreign jurisdiction and recognized by the state of the NH's domicile (or the District of Columbia if domicile is in a foreign jurisdiction) to convey spousal inheritance rights.

If no, the relationship is not recognized as a valid marital relationship for Title II and Medicare purposes. For claims, refer to processing instructions to deny the claim in GN 00210.020B.

5

Marriage listed on table

Did the couple establish a marriage in a foreign jurisdiction listed in the table in GN 00210.006D in this section?

If yes, go to step 6.

If no, and the couple established a marriage in a foreign jurisdiction not listed in the table, refer the case for legal opinion, according to instructions in GN 01010.815. Before you request a new legal opinion, check for an applicable precedent opinion in PR 05800.000. Then, go to step 7.

6

Foreign jurisdiction marriage established

Was the same-sex marriage established in a foreign jurisdiction on or after the date shown in Column II for when that foreign jurisdiction first permitted same-sex marriages? Refer to the table in GN 00210.006D in this section.

If yes, for pending claims and post-entitlement actions, we will recognize the marriage as of the date it was established. Process the claim or post-entitlement action according to instructions in GN 00210.000.

If no, the marriage is not recognized as a valid marital relationship for Title II and Medicare purposes. For claims, refer to processing instructions to deny the claim in GN 00210.020B.

7

Recognition of the foreign marriage or NMLR – Legal opinion

Does the legal opinion state that the claimant is in a valid foreign marriage, deemed marriage or NMLR that is recognized for purposes of determining entitlement under Title II and Medicare?

If yes, process the claim or post-entitlement action following instructions in GN 00210.000.

If no, the marriage or NMLR is not recognized as a marital relationship for Title II and Medicare purposes. For claims, refer to systems instructions to deny the claim in GN 00210.020B.

C. Steps to determine if we recognize a same-sex marriage or NMLR established in a foreign jurisdictions for Title XVI

Follow these steps to determine if we recognize a same-sex marriage or NMLR established in a foreign jurisdiction.

Step

Action

1

Living with spouse and marriage celebrated in a foreign jurisdiction

Does the claimant allege that he or she lives with someone of the same sex with whom he or she celebrated a ceremonial same-sex marriage in a foreign jurisdiction? For Title XVI purposes, a foreign jurisdiction is somewhere other than:

  • the 50 United States,

  • the District of Columbia, and

  • the Northern Mariana Islands.

IMPORTANT: For Title XVI purposes, the following U.S. territories are foreign jurisdictions: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

If yes, go to step 2.

If no, develop for any of the following per GN 00210.800.

  • a same-sex marriage established in the United States, including the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands;

  • entitlement to Title II benefits, one as the same-sex spouse of the other; or

  • holding out to the community as married.

For opposite-sex couples, refer to SI 00501.150 and SI 00501.152. to determine marital status.

2

Marriage listed on table

Did the couple establish a marriage in a foreign jurisdiction listed in the table in GN 00210.006D in this section?

If yes, go to step 3.

If no, and the couple established a marriage in a foreign jurisdiction not listed in the table, check for an applicable precedent opinion in PR 05800.000. If no applicable precedent opinion exists, refer the case for legal opinion, according to instructions in GN 01010.815. Then go to step 4.

3

Foreign jurisdiction marriage established

Was the same-sex marriage established in a foreign jurisdiction on or after the date shown in Column II for when that foreign jurisdiction first permitted same-sex marriages? Refer to the table in GN 00210.006D in this section.

If yes, the marriage is recognized as a valid marital relationship for Title XVI purposes. Process the claim or post-eligibility action following instructions in GN 00210.800.

If no, the marriage is not recognized as a valid marital relationship for Title XVI purposes. Process the claim or post-eligibility action following instructions in GN 00210.800.

4.

Recognition of the foreign marriage – Legal opinion

Does the legal opinion state that the claimant is in a valid foreign marriage that is recognized for purposes of determining eligibility under Title XVI?

If yes, the marriage is recognized as a valid marital relationship for Title XVI purposes. Process the claim or post-eligibility action following instructions in GN 00210.800.

If no, the marriage is not recognized as a valid marital relationship for Title XVI purposes. Process the claim or post-eligibility action following instructions in GN 00210.800.

D. Chart for same-sex marriages established in a foreign jurisdiction

Consult this chart to determine the dates when foreign jurisdictions permitted same-sex marriages.

REMINDER: For Title XVI purposes, the following U.S. territories are foreign jurisdictions: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Column I

Column II

Foreign Jurisdiction

Date Same-Sex Marriages Were Permitted

American Samoa

June 26, 2015

Argentina

July 21, 2010

Belgium

June 1, 2003

Brazil

May 14, 2013

Canada - Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories, Nunavut

July 20, 2005

Canada - British Columbia

July 8, 2003

Canada - Manitoba

September 16, 2004

Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador

December 21, 2004

Canada - New Brunswick

July 4, 2005

Canada - Nova Scotia

September 24, 2004

Canada - Ontario

June 10, 2003

Canada - Saskatchewan

November 5, 2004

Canada - Quebec

March 19, 2004

Canada - Yukon

July 14, 2004

England

March 13, 2014

France

May 17, 2013

Guam

June 9, 2015

Ireland

November 16, 2015

Netherlands

April 1, 2001

Norway

January 1, 2009

Puerto Rico

June 26, 2015

South Africa

November 30, 2006

Spain

For marriages between a Spanish citizen and a non-Spanish national contracted between July 2, 2005 and October 26, 2005, refer the case for a legal opinion using the instructions in GN 01010.815.

July 2, 2005

Sweden

May 1, 2009

U.S. Virgin Islands

June 26, 2015

E. References


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200210006
GN 00210.006 - Same-Sex Marriages and Same-Sex Non-Marital Legal Relationships Celebrated or Established in Foreign Jurisdictions - 11/24/2014
Batch run: 08/26/2016
Rev:08/26/2016