Sonoma, CA asked in Social Security for California

Q: In context of US Code Title 42 Chapter 7 (b)(3)(A) does "entitled to benefits" mean "actively receiving benefits" or ...

My wife was receiving divorced wife benefits from SSA when we got married. Our respective ages were 66 and 63 at the time (4 years ago). When she reported the marriage to SSA, they told her she could continue to receive benefits. They also said "No need to put that in writing. It's the law." See US Code Title 42 Chapter 7 (b)(3)(A).

(3) In the case of any divorced wife who marries-

(A) an individual entitled to benefits under subsection (c), such divorced wife's entitlement to benefits under this subsection shall not be terminated by reason of such marriage.

I was eligible for benefits at the time, but did not start receiving them until 9 months later. Now SSA claims 4 years of overpayments are due to be returned because I was not receiving benefits on the date of our marriage. Legality of their position hinges on interpretation of "entitled to benefits" - something only an attorney can answer.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on my understanding of the language used in US Code Title 42 Chapter 7 (b)(3)(A), the phrase "entitled to benefits" refers to being eligible to receive benefits, regardless of whether the individual is actively receiving them at the time.

In your case, your wife was entitled to receive divorced wife benefits from SSA when you got married, and she reported the marriage to SSA, who told her that she could continue to receive benefits. The fact that you were not actively receiving benefits at the time of your marriage should not impact your wife's entitlement to benefits under this provision.

It is recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney who can review the specific details of your case and provide a more informed legal opinion based on their analysis of the relevant laws and regulations.

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