Does Social Security Recognize Common Law Marriage?

Common law marriage is often taken as referring to two people living together without the benefit of a legally binding document. The legal definition is more constraining, specific and moreover important for those individuals who wish their marriage to be recognized by government entities.

For Legal Purposes, Meaning Those Recognized By Government Entities, What Exactly Is A Common Law Marriage?

A Common Law Marriage is a state-recognized union, one wherein a man and woman live together for a noteworthy amount of time, during which time they present themselves as would a married couple, having moreover a stated intent to become legally married.

Does Social Security Recognize Common Law Marriage?

The Social Security Administration, or SSA, follows state law when it comes to recognizing common law unions. For example, SSA will recognize a common law marriage recognized as valid by the state an employee resided in at the time of his demise. Moreover, while many states do not recognize common law unions, such a union is generally recognized as valid even in states that do not recognize common law marriage if the union was entered into in a state that sanctions such unions.

So, How Do Potential Beneficiaries Ascertain Whether Their Common Law Marriage Is Recognized?

For a Potential social security beneficiary to ascertain whether their common law marriage will be recognized by
SSA they must first ascertain if their state recognizes the union. Moreover, if such is the case, does their state offer recognition as Utah and Texas do, without stated limitations? Or, do provisos exist? Examples would be New Hampshire, which grants recognition of common law unions for probate purposes only, as well as Ohio, which recognize common law unions, but only those enacted by October 10 of 1991.

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