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The Supreme Court of Florida holds that a child conceived after his father’s death cannot receive survivor benefits because the father did not provide for him in his will. In Kathleen Steele v. Commissioner of Social Security (Fla. No. SC2022-1342,...READ MORE
The Supreme Court of Oklahoma holds that an incapacitated person may revoke a living will with clear and convincing evidence. In Guardianship of L.A.C. (Okla. No. 120500, February 6, 2024).READ MORE
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FROM THE KNOWLEDGE BANK
In a recent change to its Program Operations Manual System (POMS), the Social Security Administration updated its definition of "married" for purposes of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications to include same-sex couples who were legally married and who reside in a state that currently recognizes same-sex marriages.
In August 2013, the SSA issued guidance regarding same-sex marriages and old-age benefits, but it took another four months for the SSA to produce similar guidance for SSI applicants. As expected, the SSI rules mirror the old-age guidelines and instruct caseworkers to recognize legal same-sex marriages so long as the SSI applicant and his or her spouse live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages. However, the SSA has continued to place a hold on any claim filed by a person who was married in a state or foreign country that recognizes same-sex marriages but who lives in a state that does not currently recognize same-sex marriages.
The SSA also recently added several additional POMS sections dealing with same-sex marriages. In GN 00210.006, caseworkers were instructed to obtain legal opinions from the Regional Chief Counsel for all applicants who entered into a same-sex marriage in a foreign jurisdiction. GN 00210.400 allows same-sex spouses to claim surviving spouse benefits so long as the deceased spouse lived in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages, and GN 00210.600 grants lump-sum death benefits to surviving same-sex spouses who meet the same criteria. As with SSI applicants, caseworkers must hold claims for death benefits when the deceased spouse lived in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages.
To read the updated POMS materials dealing with same-sex marriages, click here.