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Can a domestic partner receive survivor benefits from social security in washington state?

Hunters, WA |

Can the survivor of a 20 year relationship receive SS benefits if the other partner passes. The couple were never married but lived as a married couple in Washington state for 20 years?

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Attorney answers 3


Currently, the federal government does not recognize same gender marriage. Since Social Security is a federal program, a domestic partner would not be entitled to any Social Security benefits based on the earnings of the decedent partner.

This is currently true regardless of how long the two lived together or whether they may be married under some state's laws.

More information is at .

Thuong-Tri Nguyen

Thuong-Tri Nguyen


For a heterosexual couple, if they are not considered married with each other under state laws, they are not entitled to any Social Security benefits based on the earnings of the decedent partner. WA, within its borders, has never allowed the formation of a common law marriage between two persons regardless of how long they have lived with each other. If the two lived together in some other state that allows the formation of a common law marriage and they qualify under that state's laws, WA and the federal government would recognize that marriage. If the decedent has children under 18, those children would likely be entitled to Social Security benefits based on the decedent's earnings. It is best that the family review the specific facts with the family's attorney.


Excellent answer from Attorney Nguyen.

Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.


Unfortunately, the answer is no. Sorry. Best of luck to you.

The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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