India and Vance had actually been wed for 27 years at his death. When she turned 62 she made an application for widows benefits. Social Security requires as part of the application for Widows benefits that she show evidence of marital relationship. India could not find her marriage certificate. She asked for a copy from the Bureau of Vital Stats in the state where she and Vance were wed and was told they had no record of her marital relationship. What does she do now?
Social Security attempts to help people who are applying for benefits in any way that they can to get the documentation a claimant needs to get advantages. In this scenario, Social Security guidelines state that they will accept the following as alternate evidence of ritualistic marital relationship:
– A signed statement from the clergy or other authorities who performed the marriage; or
In the instance of same sex marriage, a plaintiff for advantages can not satisfy the gender-based definition of spouse needed of the federal law. For all functions relating to Social Security claims an individual that does not satisfy the definition of a partner is ineligible for advantages even though they married in a state that acknowledges exact same sex marriages.
There are also guidelines and case law which show how to supply proof of common law marital relationship.