Social Security Marriage Requirement & the Deemed Valid Marriage Exception

In order to qualify for spouse’s benifits, the Social Security Administration requires that the spouse and the worker must have been legally married.   That is, the marriage must be legally recognized by the state in which the marriage was entered into.  Thus, if you have been residing in a state that recognizes your marriage as common law marriage (most states such as Ohio do not) then you will be considered legally married for purposes of recieving a deceased spouse’s Social Security benefits.

The only way that one can draw widower’s benefits without being legally married is if ALL of the following conditions listed below are met, meeting Social Security’s “deemed valid marriage” provision.

– There was a marriage ceremony.  Married social security

– The claimant married the working in good faith.  In other words, the claimant thought the marriage to be valid.

– The claimant was residing with the worker at the time of his or her entitlement to benefits or at the time of death.

– No other person is entitled on the worker’s earnings record as a legal spouse.

– There was a legal impediment or a defect with respect to the marriage ceremony.

This exception is most often implicated in situations where the worker was already married at the time he or she married the claimant.

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Social Security Disability and moving to another state

movingSocial security disability and moving to another state.

I thought I would briefly blog about a recent Client that found himself in quite a predicament due to some bad advice.The client originally filed for Social Security Disability in Ohio as he had a severe case of Chron’s disease along with two herniated intervertebral disk.Soon thereafter, the Client relocated to Alabama where he received his Social Security Disability claim denial letter.Client then retained an attorney in Alabama which requested a hearing.Unfortunately, for Client his attorney did not do his homework.Alabama is one of eight states that do not have a re-consideration step in the Social Security filing process.In other words, when a claimant in Alabama has been denied for SSD he can skip the reconsideration filing and directly request a hearing.Fortunately for the client, he soon thereafter retained a top social security disability attorney to straighten his situation out. His attorney’s failure to file for reconsideration as required in Ohio delayed Client’s disability claim by at least a year.

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How to terminate my Social Security Representative Payee?

If you feel as though you no longer need a Representative Payee SSA.gov suggests the following:

budget social securityIn order to become your own payee, you must show SSA that you are now mentally and physically able to handle your money yourself. You could provide:

  1. A doctor’s statement that there has been a change in your condition and that the doctor believes you are able to care for yourself; or
  2. An official copy of a court order saying that the court believes that you can take care of yourself; or
  3. Other evidence that shows your ability to take care of yourself.

Note: Be advised that if SSA believes your condition has improved to the point that you no longer need a payee, we may reevaluate your eligibility for benefits.

However, in my experience if your Representative Payee is an approved organization then your chances to be become your own payee are slim to none.  The main reason being, that SSA has likely already done extensive screening due to the fact that they will only allow an organization to be a Payee Representative as a last resort.  Most of these Organizational Payee Representatives charge a fee ranging anywhere from 25 dollars a month at some organizations here in Dayton up to 75 dollars a month in some larger cities such as Cleveland and Columbus.

Therefore, the best option in many cases for a person unhappy with their current Organizational Payee Representative is to simply request that the Representative be changed from to an Organization with lower fees or a family or church member that will agree to apply as a representive.  All of this can be handled through your local Social Security Administration Office without the aid of an attorney.

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