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Evidence of Ceremonial Marriage

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at


1716. Evidence of Ceremonial Marriage

1716.1 How do you prove a ceremonial marriage?

You prove a ceremonial marriage by providing:

  1. A certified copy of the public record of the marriage;

  2. A certified copy of the religious record of the marriage; or

  3. The original marriage certificate.

1716.2 Is any other evidence acceptable?

We prefer the types of evidence listed above. If none of this evidence is available, you may submit the following types of evidence:

  1. A signed statement from a member of the clergy or public official who performed the marriage; or

  2. Other evidence of investigative value, e.g., statements of witnesses, newspaper accounts, photos taken of the ceremony.

In some cases, evidence obtained for other purposes may also serve as evidence of marriage. You must provide statements concerning certain details of your marriage and document the fact that the preferred proofs are not available.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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There are 14 Comments

I really didn't know how my husband was able to change My identity, but looking on your website I Do Now!!! I have been homeless and he change all our Bank records, marriage certificate, our daughters records to Match his New Life he brought back from the East coast..Mar___ ??? is using my home, my name, amd he won't allow me access to our Income??? Amazing We just found a attorney southern California that will take the case......Please call if you can give us any information on this ar__.st__ AT a Bunch Mrs. S D. Ar__ from CA 95351...

Please advise whether there is an office in Columbiana? Someone indicated every other week someone is here?
Thank you!

I just need to know IF I get married does that mean I lose my SSI income?

I wanted to know if someone who receives SS Disability and they add their spouse, would their spouse also get a check on their spouse's Social Security Disability?

Benefits are payable to your spouse at age 62 or older, unless he or she collects a higher Social Security benefit based on his or her earnings record.

Benefits are also payable to the spouse of a disabled worker if the spouse is caring for your child under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits.

If I get married and my spouse collects social security retirement benefits also ,how would that affect both of our benefit amounts.We are both 64 years old and are collecting early retirement from social security.

I would confirm for your particular case by contacting Social Security directly, but Social Security does not have a marriage penalty.

A married couple's lifetime earnings are calculated independently to determine their benefit amounts. Therefore, each spouse receives a monthly benefit amount based on his or her own earnings. However, if one member of the couple earned low wages or did not earn enough Social Security credits to be insured for retirement benefits, he or she may be eligible to receive benefits as a spouse.

Someone has told me since my Boyfriend and i are getting married that I will also recieve a check off of his disability jut like his daughter does. Will you please tell me if this is true or not? I have also been told by my mother that when she was married to my father she did receive a check off of his disability. So that is two people saying that. Please let me know at am___ @

Also: If i will be receiving benefits as well? and how long after we get married will it take place?

Please contact Social Security directly for this.

In general, simply because you marry a (non-retired) person who receives disability benefits doesn't entitle you to benefits based off his disability.

However, if you care for the child (instead of your disabled boyfriend) it's possible you may be able to receive benefits as a care giver for the child.

The above assumes your boyfriend receives "normal" SSDI. If he receives SSI and you have income (from wages), it's likely his SSI benefit will be cut.

Is there a form I need to fill out to change my last name?? Or do I just take my marriage certificate to the Social Security Office??

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