TN 26 (02-16)

GN 00210.850 Same-Sex Parents, a Parent’s Same-Sex Marriage, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Parent-Child Deeming

Citations:

Social Security Act, Sections 1614(f)(2)(A)

Regulations 20 CFR 416.1160, 416.1161, 416.1165, 416.1202, 416.1806, and 416.1851 through 416.1881

Because of the 2013 U.S. v. Windsor Supreme Court decision, we began recognizing some same-sex marriages for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) purposes.

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court found in Obergefell v. Hodges that all states must permit same-sex marriage and recognize valid same-sex marriages.

Because of the Obergefell decision, we recognize same-sex couples as married in all states for purposes of determining their child’s eligibility or payment amount for SSI, including some same-sex couples we earlier determined were unmarried.

NOTE: For cases involving Title XVI overpayments, please refer toEM-16013 REV2 for detailed instructions.

A. Policy for deeming in a household where the parents are of the same sex or where one parent is in a same-sex marriage with another individual

A child who is applying for or receiving SSI and who lives with parents of the same sex or with his or her parent and the parent’s same-sex spouse (stepparent) is presumed to share their income and resources. We determine who is a parent for deeming purposes according to instructions in SI 00501.015, independent of the Title II definition of child or parent (as set out in GN 00306.000).

1. Parent-child deeming in a household with two parents of the same sex

When a child who is applying for or receiving SSI lives with his or her parents, and those parents are of the same sex, do not make a determination regarding the parents’ same-sex marriage. Deeming of income and resources applies from both parents, regardless of the parents’ own marital status.

Although a same-sex marriage is not material to determining the SSI payment amount or eligibility when a child lives with two parents of the same sex, follow the systems input instructions set out in GN 00210.850D in this section because a same-sex parent household composition causes a systems limitation in MSSICS.

2. Parent-child deeming in a household where one parent is married to an individual of the same sex who is not the child’s parent

We develop a same-sex marriage to determine the spouse of a parent (stepparent) according to instructions in GN 00210.800. Deeming of income and resources applies when both the parent and the stepparent live in the child’s household.

B. Selecting the month to apply same-sex marriage determinations for SSI parent-child deeming

Selecting the month to apply a finding of a parent’s same-sex marriage for SSI parent-child deeming purposes depends on whether the determination involves:

  • a new or pending initial claim, including a pending appeal of a decision on an initial claim; or

  • a post-eligibility (PE) issue.

When selecting the month to apply a finding of a parent’s same-sex marriage for SSI parent-child deeming purposes, do not consider:

  • the date of the Windsor Supreme Court decision, June 26, 2013;

  • the date of the Obergefell Supreme Court decision, June 26, 2015; or

  • the date that the laws of the state where the couple make or made their permanent home first recognized same-sex marriages performed in that state or in any other jurisdiction.

1. Selecting the month to apply a finding of a parent’s same-sex marriage for a new or pending initial claim, including a pending appeal

  1. First, select the earliest of:

    • the month following the month that the parent and stepparent celebrated the marriage;

    • the month following the month SSA made a determination that the parent and stepparent were entitled to Title II benefits as a same-sex couple; or

    • the month following the month the parent and stepparent began holding out to the community as married.

  2. Next, determine the claimant’s month of eligibility for SSI payments based on the date of the child’s SSI application as specified in GN 00204.007.

Choose the later of (a) or (b) as the month to apply a finding of a same-sex marriage that was established by the parent and stepparent before the final adjudication of an initial claim or appeal.

2. Selecting the month to apply a PE finding of a parent’s same-sex marriage

  1. First, select the earliest of:

    • the month following the month that the parent and stepparent celebrated the marriage;

    • the month following the month SSA made a determination that the parent and stepparent were entitled to Title II benefits as a same-sex couple; or

    • the month following the month the parent and stepparent began holding out to the community as married.

  2. Next, determine the earliest month subject to revision according to the instructions in SI 04070.000 (Administrative Finality – SSI) and SI 02305.034 (Period of Review – RZs and LIs).

Choose the later of (a) or (b) as the month to apply a finding of a same-sex marriage that was established by the parent and stepparent after the final adjudication of an initial claim or appeal. If this action would result in an overpayment for one or more past months, please refer to EM-16013 REV2 for detailed instructions.

C. Steps for evaluating parent-child deeming relationships when an SSI eligible child lives with two parents who are of the same-sex or with a parent and the parent’s same-sex spouse (stepparent)

Step

Action

1

Follow SI 00501.015 to develop for an SSI parent-child relationship.

  • If you determine that the SSI child lives with two parents of the same sex, consider the income, resources, and ineligible children of both parents for deeming purposes. Go to GN 00210.850D for systems processing instructions.

  • If you determine that the SSI child lives with one parent and the parent’s alleged same-sex spouse, go to step 2.

2

Follow instructions in GN 00210.800 to determine the parent’s same-sex marital status for every month of the child’s potential SSI eligibility (initial claim), or for every month subject to revision (PE action).

Is the child’s parent in a same-sex marriage for purposes of deeming of income or resources for one or more months of the child’s potential SSI eligibility or one or more months of the period of the PE review?

If yes, for each month where we recognize that the parent and stepparent are in a same-sex marriage, consider the income, resources, and ineligible children of both the parent and spouse of the parent (stepparent) for deeming purposes. See GN 00210.850D for systems processing instructions.

If no,

  • Complete the MSSICS path for a child with an unmarried parent.

  • Consider the income, resources, and ineligible children only of the one determined parent for deeming purposes.

D. Processing SSI claims and PE actions involving SSI eligible children in households with same-sex parents or a parent and the parent’s same-sex spouse (stepparent)

Follow the instructions in GN 00210.850C to determine whether the SSI child’s household includes, or included for any month in the period subject to revision for the initial claim or PE action:

  • two same-sex parents; or

  • a parent and the same-sex spouse of a parent (stepparent).

SSI claims and PE actions involving SSI eligible children in households with same-sex parents or a parent and the parent’s same sex spouse (stepparent) are MSSICS systems limitations cases. Follow these instructions carefully to document the living arrangements and deemed income and resources in MSSICS.

Step

Action

1

Is this an initial claim?

If yes, go to step 2.

If no, go to step 5.

2

Take the application in MSSICS. The Client Identification (ACID) screen prefills the maiden name of the child’s mother and the name of the child’s father from the Integrated Client Database (ICDB).

NOTE: Changing the parent/mother/father information on the ACID screen requires proper proofs and an update to the Numident System using SSNAP, according to instructions in MSOM MSSICS 008.002.

Go to step 3.

3

Enter information on the Applicant Data (APLC) screen for the parent or spouse of the parent who is applying for the child, indicating whether the parent applicant is a mother or a father. The SSN for this potential deemor then prefills to the Child Data (ACHD) screen, appropriately, as either father or mother.

Go to step 4.

4

Does the ACHD screen show the SSN under “father”?

If yes, go to step 6.

If no, go to step 7.

5

When adding the second parent or stepparent to the ACHD screen:

If the original parent is listed as a father, go to step 6.

If the original parent is listed as a mother, go to step 7.

6

On the ACHD screen, enter the SSN of the second parent, or the spouse of the parent (stepparent), in the “mother” field, even though this parent or stepparent is male. The ACHD screen is currently unable to process two mothers or two fathers as deemor parents.

NOTE: You will need to make pen and ink changes to the application or redetermination receipt to correct the designation of “mother” for this parent or stepparent to say “father.”

Go to step 8.

7

On the ACHD screen, enter the SSN of the second parent, or the spouse of the parent (stepparent), in the “father” field, even though this parent or stepparent is female.

NOTE: You will need to make pen and ink changes to the application or redetermination receipt to correct the designation of “father” for this parent or stepparent to say “mother.”

Go to step 8.

8

On the Additional Client Data (ACLD) screen, enter the SSN of any ineligible child who:

  • lives in the household; and

  • is a child of the potential deemor parent(s) or of the spouse of the parent.

Go to step 10 for an initial claim

Go to step 9 for a post-eligibility action.

9

Create a new living arrangement in MSSICS by indicating “Y” on the LCHG screen of the most recent living arrangement. Use the date the second parent (or stepparent) entered the household or the date that an individual already living in the household became the same-sex spouse of the parent as the DATE OF CHANGE on the LCHG screen.

Go to step 10.

10

The General ID screens (e.g., ACID, ACHD, and ACLD screens) prefill the Household Composition (LHHC) screen with the following information for the claimant, his or her potential deemor parents (including the spouse of a potential deemor parent), and the ineligible children of potential deemor parents:

  • Name

  • Sex

  • Birthdate

  • Disabled or blind status

  • Marriage

The parent entries from the ACHD screen will carry over to the LHHC screen, showing either a female father or a male mother. Change the incorrect prefilled marriage type for the potential deemor who is not applying for the child (or the potential deemor who is the newly added parent or stepparent) to “10: OTH RELATIVE,” to continue through the claims path.

Go to step 11.

11

Add any other household members to the LHHC screen, as appropriate.

Go to step 12.

12

Enter “Y” for “REMARKS” on the LHHC screen, and complete the Associated Remarks (ARMK) screen:

  • list the name and SSN of the OTH RELATIVE’s (see step 10); and

  • note the actual parental relationship (i.e., parent or stepparent) of the potential deemor misidentified on the LHHC screen as an OTH RELATIVE

Go to step 13.

13

Complete the MSSICS income and resource screens for each potential deemor. MSSICS will create an accurate SSA-8010 BK “Summary Statement of Income and Resources” or “Redetermination Summary” for the parents or parent and stepparent listed on the ACHD screen.

You will not need to:

  • Make pen and ink changes to the “Summary Statement” output; or

  • Complete a paper SSA-8010-BK or Redetermination Summary, unless you encounter a systems limitation unrelated to the same-sex parent issue.

Go to step 14.

14

See instructions in SI 01140.206C. Do the parents (or parent and stepparent) allege combined liquid resources totaling $400.00 or more?

If yes, go to step 15.

If no, go to step 16.

15

  • Use the automated eAFI subsystem for the parent or stepparent whom you show as the FATHER or MOTHER on the LHHC screen (see step 10, above); and

  • Use the web-based electronic 4641 (e4641) process for the same-sex parent or the stepparent whom you show as OTHER on the LHHC screen.

Go to step 16.

16

Complete the remaining claims (or PE review) path, establishing the SSR in H80 status for an initial claim.

If the child’s household includes his or her parent and a same-sex stepparent, go to step 17.

If the child’s household includes parents who are both of the same sex, go to step 18.

17

On the DW01, enter the code that applies to the marriage status alleged by the applicant (parent or stepparent) or, in a PE situation, by the representative payee (generally, the parent or stepparent):

  • Marriage - Code 626M

  • Holding Out – Code 626H

  • Other - Code 626O (Use this code for “entitled to Title II benefits as a same-sex couple.”)

IMPORTANT: Retain this unit code for the type of same-sex marriage alleged, regardless of the determination or changes made in the adjudicative level of the case.

Go to step 19.

18

Follow standard local practice to assign a unit code to the DW01.

Go to step 19.

19

  • For each month, starting with the first month of eligibility (initial claim) or the earliest month affected by deeming of income or resources from the two parents or a parent and stepparent of the same sex (PE action), perform a manual eComputation using the amounts you recorded for the parent(s) and stepparent on the deemors’ income and resource screens.

  • Retain a copy in the electronic folder.

Go to step 20 for an initial claim.

Go to step 24 for a post-eligibility action.

20

Is the child technically ineligible for SSI (e.g., excess deemed income, excess deemed resources)?

If yes,

  • Add this exact language to the SSR as a remark: “M02 REQD-SAME SEX CASE MM/DD/YYYY (date of input),” as instructed in MSOM MSSICS 023.003.

  • Obtain a mandatory case review by a Technical Expert (TE) or Management Official, according to instructions in GN 00210.800G.

  • Use the Force Due (M02) process in MSOM BUSSR 002.006 to effectuate a denial ($.00 payment).

  • Go to step 25.

If no, go to step 21.

21

Does the claim require a medical decision?

If yes, retain the H80 payment status and refer the claim to Disability Determination Services (DDS). Go to step 22.

If no, go to step 23.

22

Is the medical decision favorable?

If yes, go to step 23.

If no, DDS sends the medical denial notice.

  • Use the Force Due (M02) process in MSOM BUSSR 002.006 to effectuate the denial ($.00 payment).

  • Add this exact language to the SSR as a remark: “M02 REQD-SAME SEX CASE MM/DD/YYYY (date of input),” as instructed in MSOM MSSICS 023.003.

23

Conduct a pre-effectuation review contact (PERC), as required, and update the eComputations from step 19.

Go to step 24.

24

  • Add this exact language to the SSR as a remark: “M02 REQD-SAME SEX CASE MM/DD/YYYY (date of input),” as instructed in MSOM MSSICS 023.003.

  • Obtain a mandatory case review by a TE or Management Official, according to instructions in GN 00210.800G.

  • Use the Force Due (M02) process to control the case and pay the child, according to MSOM BUSSR 002.006. If this action would result in an overpayment for one or more past months, please refer to EM-16013 REV2 for detailed instructions.

NOTE: Earlier instructions called for posting the SSR remark “M02 REQD-WINDSOR CASE MM/DD/YYYY (date of input).” These cases, whether identified as “WINDSOR” or “SAME SEX” in the SSR remarks, will appear on the Force Pay Listing website, which updates quarterly. Monitor these cases closely; the system will not automatically terminate the claimant's eligibility, should a relevant period of ineligibility occur.

Go to step 26 for an initial claim.

Go to step 27 for a post-eligibility action.

25

Use the Document Processing System (DPS) to issue a denial SSA-L8030 (Notice of Disapproved Claim) per NL 00802.025. Store the notice in the Online Retrieval System (ORS).

26

Use DPS to issue an SSA-L8025 (Award Notice) per NL 00802.015. Store the notice in the Online Retrieval System (ORS).

27

Use DPS to issue a Notice of Change in Payment (SSA-L8151) per NL 00803.010 or a Notice of Planned Action (SSA-L8155) per NL 00803.015. Store the notice in the Online Retrieval System (ORS).

E. Examples of parent-child deeming relationships when an SSI eligible child lives with two parents who are of the same sex or with a parent and the parent’s same-sex spouse

1. Initial claim; same-sex parents alleged; no evidence to the contrary; accept allegation

Michelle visits her local field office (FO) to file for SSI benefits for her child, Noah. Michelle alleges that she and Noah live with Noah’s other parent, Jenny. The ACID screen prefills ICDB information indicating Michelle and Jenny as Noah’s parents. There is no evidence contrary to Michelle’s allegation that both she and Jenny are Noah’s parents. The claims representative (CR) deems income and resources to Noah from both Michelle and Jenny without developing for the parents’ possible same-sex marriage.

Although Noah’s claim does not require the CR to develop a same-sex marriage, the fact that his deemor parents are of the same-sex currently produces a systems limitation in MSSICS. The CR must follow the detailed input instructions in GN 00210.850D.

2. Post-eligibility action; parent and same-sex spouse of parent

Juan and Karl married in California, but they made their permanent home in Ohio with Noelle, Juan’s SSI eligible child from a prior opposite-sex marriage. In December 2014, when the CR interviewed Juan for Noelle’s scheduled redetermination, the laws of Ohio did not recognize same-sex marriages, and the Supreme Court had not yet ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriages. Following the POMS instructions then available, the CR concluded that Juan and Karl were not married for SSI purposes, and that Karl was not Noelle’s stepparent.

When the FO conducts a redetermination for Noelle in February 2016, the CR follows instructions in GN 00210.850B.2. in this section and determines that Karl is, in fact, Noelle’s stepparent.

The earliest month subject to revision cannot exceed two years retroactively. We consider income from two years plus two months to account for budget months when a retrospective monthly accounting computation applies.

Noelle did not exceed the resource limit, even considering Juan and Karl’s deemed resources. The addition of Karl’s deemed income did not make Noelle ineligible for SSI; however, the CR determines that the additional income deemed from Karl beginning in January 2014 should have reduced Noelle's payments starting with March 2014 and continuing.

The CR follows instructions in EM-16013 REV2 about overpayment waivers and reduces Noelle’s SSI payment starting with the current computation month.

F. References

  • EM-16013 REV2 Processing SSI Overpayments Resulting from Same-Sex Marriage

  • GN 00204.007 Application Filing Date

  • GN 00210.800 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Same -Sex Marriages, Same-Sex Couples, and SSI Deeming from a Same-Sex Ineligible Spouse

  • GN 00306.000 Child Marriage and Dependency – Table of Contents

  • NL 00802.015 Completion of the Manual SSA-L8025-U2, Notice of Award

  • NL 00802.025 Completion of the Manual SSA-L8030-U2, Notice of Disapproved Claim

  • NL 00803.010 SSA-L8151-U2, SSI Notice of Change in Payment

  • NL 00803.015 SSA-L8155-U2, SSI Notice of Planned Action

  • SI 00501.010 Determining Child Status for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Purposes

  • SI 00501.015 Determining Parent-Child Relationships for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Purposes

  • SI 01140.206 Electronic Financial Institution Verification

  • SI 01310.145 Deeming Concept - Parent

  • SI 02305.034 Period of Review - RZs and LIs

  • SI 04070.000 Administrative Finality - SSI – Table of Contents

  • SM 01701.001 How Force Due and Force Payment Work

  • MSOM BUSSR 002.006 Force Due Process

  • MSOM MSSICS 008.002 Client Identification (ACID)

  • MSOM MSSICS 008.006 Applicant Data (APLC)

  • MSOM MSSICS 008.011 Child Data (ACHD)

  • MSOM MSSICS 008.014 Additional Client Data (ACLD)

  • MSOM MSSICS 023.003 SSR Remarks (CRMK)


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200210850
GN 00210.850 - Same-Sex Parents, a Parent's Same-Sex Marriage, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Parent-Child Deeming - 03/28/2016
Batch run: 07/08/2016
Rev:07/08/2016