Does Social Security See State Partnerships The Same Way As Traditional Marriages For Benefit Purposes?

Jul 31 2020 - 8:50am

Marry fir 35 years
Divorced for less than 2 years and
enteref Official legal WA. State partnership.
Q- Does social security sees state partnerships the same way as traditional marriages for benefits purposes?
Q- I am already receiving benefits aftr FRA.
She is applying for benefits as of 2020 after her FRA.
If I pass, will she received higher benefits?


No, Social Security doesn't view domestic partnerships the same as a marriage for benefit purposes. Social Security recognizes state law when determining whether or not a person is or has been legally married, so you can normally only qualify for spousal, divorced spousal, widow(er), or surviving divorced spousal benefits based on a non-marital relationship if the relationship is classified as a legal marital relationship under state law. I'm not an expert on the various state laws, so I can't tell you whether or not your partnership will count as a marriage for Social Security purposes.

Whether or not your partner could qualify for spousal benefits if she meets the marriage requirement depends on your relative benefit rates. Assuming that your partner was born after January 1 1954, she could only qualify for spousal benefits if 50% of your primary insurance amount (PIA) is higher than her own PIA. A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing at full retirement age (FRA).

Best, Jerry