India and Vance had actually been wed for 27 years at his death. When she turned 62 she obtained widows benefits. Social Security requires as part of the application for Widows advantages that she show proof of marriage. India could not find her marriage certificate. She requested a copy from the Bureau of Vital Stats in the state where she and Vance were married and was informed they had no record of her marital relationship. What does she do now?
Social Security attempts to help people who are looking for benefits in any method that they can to get the paperwork a claimant needs to get advantages. When you can not supply primary files when making an application for advantages they will take secondary evidence of entitlement. In this circumstance, Social Security guidelines specify that they will accept the following as alternate evidence of ceremonial marriage:
– A signed statement from the clergy or other authorities who carried out the marriage; or
In the instance of very same sex marriage, a complaintant for benefits can not satisfy the gender-based meaning of spouse required of the federal law. So for all purposes relating to Social Security claims an individual that does not satisfy the definition of a partner is disqualified for benefits although they wed in a state that recognizes very same sex marriages.
There are also policies and case law which show how to supply evidence of common law marital relationship. There are not lots of situations that have not been at issue with Social Security. If you are having issues showing your case, talk to legal counsel experienced in managing social security cases. You can appeal any decision social security makes on your claim for advantages.