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Christopher B, Esq.
Christopher B, Esq., Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 2963
Experience:  associate attorney
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My boyfriend passed on 3 7 2017. I have lived with him for

Customer Question

My boyfriend passed on 3 7 2017. I have lived with him for 13 years. I applied for survivors benefits. I am elegible. I live in PA. I need to signatures from both side of our family. My side no problem. His side not so easy. They stopped talking to me after his death due to family issues. What can I do
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. Common law marriage in PA no longer exists. In 2005, the state legislature stopped recognizing the validity of any new Pennsylvania law on marriage. Couples who had entered into a common law marriage before January 2, 2005 still had their marriages recognized by the state, but no common law marriages have taken place in the state since that time. In order to have a common law marriage in PA, two people simply had to use what were called “words of present intent” expressing that they now considered themselves married. Once the words had been said, a common law marriage in Pennsylvania existed. Social Security will only recognize a common law marriage if the state in which the marriage supposedly occurred recognizes it. You would have to show that you had a common law marriage in PA before January 2, 2005 or you willl not be eligible for survivor benefits. See SSA link regarding common law marriage: to prove common law marriage: you cannot provide a signature from each side of the family, SSA provides, "If you adequately explain why you cannot obtain the required statements from relatives, you may submit statements from other persons who know the facts. Provide any other investigative evidence relating to your case." You would have to show that you are estranged from them and they refuse to cooperate and can provide other evidence to support your claim. Whether or not SSA accepts this as a valid excuse is unknown and it will be up to them to decide this, but this is the only way you can prove this if you cannot provide a relative statement from his side. Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer if satisfied. There should be smiley faces or numbers from 1-5 to choose from. This extra step will cost you nothing extra and will ensure that I will be compensated for my time by the site.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Just checking back in, do you have any further questions?