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Barbara, Enrolled Agent
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 3780
Experience:  20+ years of experience in tax preparation; 25+ years of experience as a real estate/corporate paralegal.
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I know a widower who's has lived with a common-law wife for

Customer Question

I know a widower who's has lived with a common-law wife for many years and has a child
be her. Is he entitled to continued survivor benefits?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Barbara replied 9 months ago.

Welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you.

Common law spouses and former common law spouses can be eligible for Social Security benefits (dependents and survivors benefits) based on their husband's or wife’s earnings record, if their states' common law marriage requirements are met. This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) follows state law when determining whether people have a valid marriage.

The following links contain excellent information regarding this topic that you will find helpful:

Please let me know if I can assist you further.

Thank you and best regards,


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Can you please be more specific about the situation in the state of Massachusetts?
Expert:  Barbara replied 9 months ago.

Please take a moment to rate my answer to your initial question.

To answer your second question,

Massachusetts does not recognize common law marriages


Massachusetts does recognize as valid, common law marriages created in other states if the legal requirements of those states have been met.

Expert:  Barbara replied 9 months ago.

Just following up with you to see if you have any other questions or concerns. If so, please let me know so I can further assist you.

Thank you.