Advanced Underwriting Consultants

Ask the Experts – May 12

Ask the Experts!

The professionals at Advanced Underwriting Consultants (AUC) answer the tax and technical questions posed by producers.  Here’s the question of the day.

Question: Is a same-sex spouse entitled to Social Security spousal benefits?

Answer: Yes if the non-working spouse (1) was legally married in a state that permits same-sex marriage, and (2) is domiciled at the time of application, or while the claim is pending a final determination, in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. The working spouse can be domiciled in a state that doesn’t allow same-sex marriage without affecting the non-working spouse’s claim for spousal benefits.

The SSA rule is slightly different than the IRS rule for recognizing same-sex marriages. In Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the IRS only requires that the same-sex couple be legally married in a state permitting same-sex marriages—it does not require either spouse to be domiciled in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.

The Social Security Administration requires certain instructions to be followed for evidence of marriage, so visit https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200210100 for more information. There you can also find which states permit, and which states recognize, same-sex marriages.

Have a question for the professionals at AUC?  Feel welcome to submit it by email.  We may post your question and the answer as the question of the day.