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Lane
Lane, JD,CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 10476
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial, Social Security & Tax advice since 1986
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I live in Colorado and we have been common law married and

Customer Question

I live in Colorado and we have been common law married and living together since 2008.How long do we need to be married for me to get awarded my husbands survivor social security benefits?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  lev-tax replied 7 months ago.

Colorado does NOT recognize common law marriage.
You may not apply for survivor spouse social security benefits based on common law marriage in Colorado.

Expert:  Lane replied 7 months ago.

Hi - I am a different expert and I have a different answer.

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Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington, D.C. (Also, states that do not recognize common law marriages will generally recognize a common law marriage validly created in another state).

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In Colorado, a common law marriag is established by the mutual consent of two parties to be husband and wife (an agreement to live as husband and wife) and a mutual and open assumption of a marital relationship, meaning that both spouses hold themselves out to the public as husband and wife.

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The Social Security Administration recognizes common law marriage as long as the marriage was created in a state that recognizes common law marriage, and the marriage must be valid in that state. If the partners did not meet the requirements for common law marriage in their state, or if they cannot prove their marriage, neither spouse can collect widow’s benefits through Social Security.

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Expert:  Lane replied 7 months ago.

And in terms of your original question, you only need to have been in a common law (or other) marriage to claim survivor benefits.

Expert:  Lane replied 7 months ago.

Here's the Social Security operations manual on the issue: https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200305060

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Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

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If this HAS helped, and you DON’T have other questions … I'd appreciate a positive rating (using the faces or stars on your screen, and then clicking “submit")

I know it takes an extra step, but JustAnswer won’t credit us for the work until you rate.

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Thank you!

Lane

I have a law degree, with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA, with specialization in finance & tax, as well as CFP and CRPS designations. - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, both for-profit and non-profit, and tax advice on three continents, since 1986

Expert:  Lane replied 7 months ago.

Hi - you've not yet rated me here and asked another question AS A SEPARATE QUESTION ... would appreciate you coming back here and rating.

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The answer to the other qiestion, by the way, is as follows:

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Your widow or widower can receive:

  • reduced benefits as early as age 60 or full benefits atfull retirement age or older.

  • benefits as early as age 50 if he or she is disabled AND their disability started before or within seven years of your death.

Expert:  Lane replied 7 months ago.

Hi,

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I’m just checking back in to see how things are going.

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Did my answer help?

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Let me know…

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Thanks

Lane

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