TN 24 (01-12)

RS 00207.040 Woodson v. Schweiker (Fifth Circuit)

A. Policy for Woodson v. Schweiker

1. Issue

The issue is the effect of a legal wife or widow's prior period of entitlement on the entitlement of a deemed wife or widow.

2. Court decision

The court of appeals held that a legal widow's prior period of entitlement to mother's benefits did not preclude a deemed widow, under section 216(h)(1) , from qualifying for widow's benefits.

3. Applicability

  1. a. 

    The procedures in this section apply to benefits payable prior to 1/91 where the applicant seeking to invoke the deemed marriage provision resides in Alabama, Florida, or Georgia (Eleventh Circuit) or in Texas, Louisiana, or Mississippi (Fifth Circuit) at the time of the determination or decision regardless of the administrative level of review.

  2. b. 

    The ruling applies to determinations or decisions made on or after May 22, 1986.

  3. c. 

    The ruling applies equally to claims for husband's, widower's, and father's benefits.

4. Suspension, termination, nonpayment, and deductions

  1. a. 

    Benefits paid based on this ruling will not terminate simply because the claimant no longer resides in the Fifth or Eleventh Circuit.

  2. b. 

    If the legal spouse or widow(er) becomes reentitled, the deemed spouse or widow(er)'s benefits will terminate the month the legal spouse or widow(er)'s award receives approval.

  3. c. 

    All other suspension, termination, and deduction events apply per the following instructions:

5. References

  • AR 86-18R(5) : Woodson v. Schweiker, 656 F.2d 1169 (5th Cir. 1981) — Interpretation of the Deemed Marriage Provision — Title II of the Social Security Act.

  • AR 86-19R(11) : Woodson v. Schweiker, 656 F.2d 1169 (5th Cir. 1981) — Interpretation of the Deemed Marriage Provision — Title II of the Social Security Act.

B. Procedure to adjudicate a deemed spouse claim after entitlement of a legal spouse

1. FO

Take the following actions:

  1. a. 

    Adjudicate the claim of the deemed spouse as though the legal spouse had not been entitled, except that the deemed spouse will not be entitled to spouse's, widow(er)'s or mother's or father's benefits for any months prior to the month in which the former legal spouse or widow(er)'s benefits terminated.

  2. b. 

    Initial claims

    • Complete application and develop all entitlement factors;

    • Forward form SSA-3293 (CAPS Routing) or form SSA-3601 (Non-CAPS Routing) to the PC; and

    • Annotate the routing form “Woodson Acquiescence Ruling.”

  3. c. 


To verify any entitlement factors established in the prior claim use DOTEL procedures GN 01070.200.

2. PC

  • Develop all unresolved issues, including the marital relationship if the claim is unadjudicated; and

  • Adjudicate the claim after establishing the marital relationship and all entitlement factors.

See adverse claims instructions where other beneficiaries are currently entitled in GN 01010.335.

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RS 00207.040 - Woodson v. Schweiker (Fifth Circuit) - 01/18/2012
Batch run: 01/19/2012