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Social Security: How Does the SSA Verify Marriage?

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If you recently married and changed your last name or if you’re applying for a Social Security spousal benefit, you’ll need to provide evidence to the Social Security Administration of your marriage.

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To prove a marriage, the SSA says to provide one of the following:

According to the SSA, proof of marriage does not include a souvenir certificate (SC), also known as a keepsake, ornate, ceremonial, complimentary, goodwill, memento or heirloom certificate.

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If you cannot provide proof of marriage, you may be asked to request proof from the custodian of the record. The marriage record must contain enough information for an audit trail.

Approved religious marriage records are either the original religious certificate of marriage or a certified copy of the religious marriage record. 

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The original religious certificate of marriage must show the date and place of the ceremony, completed and signed by the officiating clergyman and given to the couple at the time of the ceremony. A copy or an extract from the original record is also acceptable if it is certified by the custodian of the religious records in his/her official capacity or by an authorized SSA, State Department or VA employee.

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