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Thread: News: SSA Publishes Recent Change in POMS - Windsor Same-Sex Marriage Claims

  1. #1

    News: SSA Publishes Recent Change in POMS - Windsor Same-Sex Marriage Claims

    POMS Recent Change



































    Identification Number:

    GN 00210 TN 02

    Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
    Originating Office:ORDP OISP
    Title:Windsor Same-Sex Marriage Claims
    Type:POMS Transmittals
    Program:All Programs
    Link To Reference:
     



    PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM

    Part 02 - General

    Chapter 002 - Benefits and Payments

    Subchapter 10 - Windsor Same-Sex Marriage Claims

    Transmittal No. 02, 12/2013

    Audience


    FO/TSC: CR, CR TII, CR TXVI, DRT, FR, OA, OS, RR, SR, TA, TE, TSC-SR

    PSC: CA, SCPS, CS, TSA, TST, ICDS, IES, ISRA, RECONR

    OCO-ODO: BET, CR, CST, CTE, CTE TE, DE, DEC, DS, RCOVTA, RECONE, RECOVR

    OCO-OIO: BET, CAQCR, CR, CTE, ERE, FCR, FDEC, RECONE, RECONR




    Originating Component

    OISP




    Effective Date

    Upon Receipt




    Background

    On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in United States vs. Windsor. Because of the decision, we are no longer prohibited from recognizing same-sex marriages for purposes of determining benefits.



    Consequently, all claims that are filed on or after June 26, 2013, or that were pending final determination at the time of the decision, will be subject to Windsor instructions.

    We are working with the Department of Justice to interpret the Windsor decision.

    Please send questions about managing claims related to the Windsor decision to ^Windsor Policy Questions.

    Please check the PolicyNet Daily Posting regarding additional claims that can be processed immediately.

    These new POMS instructions include policy, process, and procedures for processing same-sex marriage cases.




    Summary of Changes


    GN 00210.006 Same-Sex Marriages Celebrated in Foreign Jurisdictions

    This new section provides instructions for obtaining a legal opinion on the validity of the foreign same-sex marriage.








    GN 00210.006 Same-Sex Marriages Celebrated in Foreign Jurisdictions


    A. Introduction



    Because of the Windsor decision, we are now able to process some
    claims involving foreign same-sex marriages. A foreign marriage is a
    ceremonial marriage that was celebrated somewhere other than in a state.
    For the purposes of determining marital status, states are defined as:





    • the 50 United States,





    • the District of Columbia,





    • the U.S. Virgin Islands,





    • Puerto Rico,





    • Guam,





    • American Samoa, or





    • the Northern Mariana Islands.




    This section provides instructions for obtaining a legal opinion on the
    validity of the foreign same-sex marriage. If the claimant alleges a
    foreign, same-sex legal relationship other than marriage, hold the claim
    as set out in GN 00210.005. If the NH is domiciled in a state that does
    not recognize same-sex marriage (per the chart in GN 00210.100B.1.), hold
    the claim as set out in GN 00210.005.


    B. Policy on determining need for legal opinion on foreign same-sex marriage



    We look to the Number Holder’s (NH’s) domicile to determine
    the validity of a marriage. If the NH is alive, we look to the NH’s
    domicile at the time of application or while the claim is pending a final
    determination. If the NH has died, we look to the NH’s domicile at
    the time of her or his death.





    1. If the NH’s domicile is a state (i.e., domestic domicile), we will
      determine if the courts in that state would recognize the foreign same-sex
      marriage as valid. Refer the claim for a legal opinion as explained in
      GN 00210.006C in this section.





    2. If the NH’s domicile is foreign, we will determine if the courts in
      the District of Columbia would recognize the foreign same-sex marriage as
      valid.




    NOTE: The field office that is responsible for the claim will also
    be responsible for requesting the legal opinion and processing actions
    based on the legal opinion.


    C. Obtaining a legal opinion on the validity of a foreign same-sex marriage



    Refer the claim for a Regional Chief Counsel (RCC) opinion on the validity
    of the marriage, following the instructions in GN 01010.815. The Regional
    Office will refer the claim for legal opinion on the validity of the
    marriage, following instructions in GN 01010.820.


    D. Examples for when to request a legal opinion on the validity of a foreign same-sex marriage





    • Paul and William marry in Sweden. Paul files for husband’s benefits
      on William’s record while William is domiciled in Massachusetts. We
      determine Paul meets all other eligibility factors. Refer the claim for an
      RCC opinion on the validity of the Swedish marriage under Massachusetts
      law, using instructions in GN 01010.815.





    • Paul and William marry in Brazil. Paul files for husband’s benefits
      on William’s record while William is domiciled in Brazil. We
      determine Paul meets all other eligibility factors. Refer the claim for a
      legal opinion on the validity of the Brazilian marriage under the law of
      the District of Columbia, using instructions in GN 01010.815.


    E. Actions after you have obtained a legal opinion about validity of foreign same-sex marriage



    Once you obtain a legal opinion about marriage validity, process the claim
    per instructions in GN 00210.000. If we do not have published policy for
    the claim type, hold the claim as set out in GN 00210.005.


    F. References



    GN 00210.000 Windsor Same-Sex Marriage Claims – Table of Contents



    GN 00210.005 Holding Claims, Appeals, and Post-Entitlement Actions
    Involving Same-Sex Marriages or Legal Same-Sex Relationships other than
    Marriage



    GN 00305.001 Determining Family Status



    GN 01010.255 Adjudication of Foreign Claims



    GN 01010.815 Request for Legal Opinion



    GN 01010.820 Assistant Regional Commissioner (ARC), Management, Operations
    and Support (MOS) Action on Request for Legal Opinion



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