Follow
Share

I am writing regarding benefits for my sister. Her ex husband (never left each other) is a disabled war veteran. My sister has a disability and her partner, ex husband is currently in the hospital dying. They have been married and divorced 2x but have never left each other. They are currently divorced and tried to get married in the hospital but the Justice of the Peace did not bring a marriage certificate. They we're able to capture this on video. She is unable to survive without his disability income. Is there anything I can do to help her?

A justice of the peace doesn’t usually bring a marriage certificate in my experience. The bride and groom have to go down to the court house/vital records/county recorders office and get it themselves. Probably the only thing you can do to make this a LEGAL marriage is see if someone from the court house-in my county it be in the recorders office-can bring the necessary paperwork to the hospital so they can get a marriage license.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to worriedinCali
Report

The couple has to go and apply for a marriage license and present their birth certificate, info on prior divorce decrees etc. and of course pay the fee and are given the license certificate to bring to the ceremony (wherever it may be). People get married everywhere these days - on the beach, sky diving, etc. But they too have to have applied for and received the license first.

A videotape of the ceremony is not enough to prove a legal marriage ceremony took place.

I feel really bad about your sister not being able to collect his disability payments and I know hindsight is 20/20 vision but if they never left each other how could he have neglected to take care of her by not marrying her again?

Hopefully someone can help these two get remarried before he passes away.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Shane1124
Report

Have they lived in a state that recognizes common law marriage since the last divorce?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to TNtechie
Report

Like said, if they got a license and a marriage was performed, they are married. The minister has to sign the license and witnesses. Was that done? Churches usually give a nice pretty certificate but its not legal.

If there was a license signed by the couple, minister and witnesses, that needs to be taken and filed with the County clerk then they will receive a legal marriage certificate.

My BIL was a Major and retired after 20 yrs. My SIL told me she will not be able to receive his pension after he passes. I am not sure if ur sister would receive any disability he receives from the service. If he gets SSD, not sure if she is entitled to that if she is not at least 62, the age u can start collecting, 60 if a widow. Thats a question for SS.

As my SIL says, the Vet was in the service, not the spouse. There is a type of pension that a man serving can get a wife that they pay monthly into. If I remember correctly, its like $200 a month. Expensive for a man in the service supporting a wife and kids.

You first need to find out if sis is legally married. If not, a divorced spouse cannot get help from the VA. As an ex, she will be able to collect off of her partners SS but not till she is 62 and if married at least 10 yrs to him.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
worriedinCali Apr 2, 2019
They didn’t get a license, it’s in the original post. So there is no legal married of record. They had a justice of the peace come out, not a member of clergy.
(1)
Report
Now your sister. She is young, what type of disability does she have? Does she collect SSD because of it? If she gets SSD then she has Medicare and Medicaid?

If she doesn't have SSD, now would be the time to apply. She can do this thru the local SS office. If turned down, she then gets a SS lawyer. He will not charge her. If she wins, SS pays the lawyer from the retroactive funds she receives. Which comes about because you are paid back to when you filed for SS not when you are finally OKd to receive it.

There are programs out there that your sister can receive. Your office of aging and Social Service Dept can help her navigate thru some of it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Hi thank you everyone. My sister has a mental disability beginning with PTSD from a prior boyfriend shooting himself in front of her when she was 16. They don't have a marriage certificate because the Justice of the Peace didn't bring one to the hospital and she didn't know to get one. That was on Friday when he was conscience in the hospital. Now he is in organ failure, septic shock and ARDS. She only gets $400 a month from the government because my parents bought her a small house. When he passes they won't be able to pay property taxes as well as other expenses. Since my parents have done so much it seems like the government does less for her, it's terrible. I hear of people who are on disability that the government takes care of. She is truly unable to work especially since her last suicide attempt, she was in a coma and hospital for a long time and left her even more incapable. Such a sad situation. Now her friend and security guard ( she can't even go to a doctor's appointment alone) is going to be gone with the additional stress on her and my family not being able to financially to live in her own.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Spousesupport
Report

Hi in addition they have been married and divorced 2 x but have been together pretty nonstop for 16 years. He is a disabled veteran of war with a purple heart , 20 years older than her. He helped out some what but does not have anything financially except for his pension. I think this is just a bad unfortunate situation with no resolution.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Spousesupport
Report
JoAnn29 Apr 2, 2019
If his pension is service related, she is not entitled to it.
(0)
Report
Your sister is disabled, no doubt.
However, the government frowns upon using marriage and divorce to qualify for added benefits. The way you wrote this, there is not enough information to help determine if she qualifies for more or different benefits. And I am no expert.
She needs a private attorney to help her. I am just guessing what the facts could be.

If she had ever worked, and is on SSDI, the house in her name, would be an exempt asset, she could still qualify for SSDI benefits. However, in that case, the low income of $400/ mo. is not less than the amount calculated of her earnings because your parents bought her a house. Imo. Maybe that is all the calculated income she earned.??? Maybe you also do not have enough information about the entire financial planning for sis?

If she had no qualifying income over the years, she could be on SSI only. This is gov't support for persons with low or no income, (and is decreased by other helps), is for people who do not receive social security due to never working and paying in to the SS insurance. Medi-Cal is also likely a benefit, also adjusted when others live in the home.
If so, they deduct for every member living in the household, thereby decreasing her income. And would deduct for her parents helping her, and living there.
Especially if the parents live there, if the parents are on the title of the home, etc.
Imo.

Ideally, It was the parent's job to provide for a disabled child, and to set that up for her lifetime before age 18, or 21. This is usually done by an attorney, through a special needs trust. If the house they provided was in a special needs trust, I believe she would still qualify for benefits. The attorney may be able to arrange Social.Security based upon her parents income?

I suggest you help your sister by getting a social security attorney, and a disability attorney. For her and parents, if they are to live in the house together.

This is not something to do it yourself (diy). One cannot pick and choose a government benefit, or double dip. There has to be long term planning--include the parents. And an attorney, on behalf of sis. Not accusing anyone of fraud, but the gov't will look into this. If she had received more benefits by being divorced, and now wants to qualify by being married, she may have to pay back benefits
received while presumably divorced.

Still, there is help for your sister. It is just too complicated without more facts.
And an expert, and an attorney. Wish I knew how to help you help your sister.
You are kind to want to help her. But, can your parents look into this?
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Sendhelp
Report

Note:
A divorced spouse can receive their ex-spouse's SS partial income under some circumstances. It is called derivative spousal income. It is calculated on the higher earnings spouse's income, and the beneficiary gets a portion. If the income is from the VA, maybe the same or similar is available, based upon how many years they were married. You can look into it, or ask the attorney.

Do you know how your parents will figure into this planning?

P.S. It took me such a long time to post the last one, you had posted again before I read it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Sendhelp
Report

Just a thought. A wild card at best.
See if common law marriage is legal in your sisters state.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to 97yroldmom
Report
worriedinCali Apr 2, 2019
If sister is in the OPs state then common law marriage is not recognized. And even if it was, they were married and divorced twice so the VA would probably not accept the common law marriage.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
My last idea:
Promote independence and supported housing for the mentally ill. Health can be achieved by living independently from parents. And stopping any suicide attempts.
She can start in rehab.

Trying to combine government support for her and parents will be one hot mess, imo. And, will she become their caregiver against her will, and be overwhelmed by those obligations...(same as a very stressful job). The parents can sell the house?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Sendhelp
Report

They're certainly a very unusual couple. If you can prove that they have continuously occupied the same house throughout their on-off-on-off-on-but-not-quite marriage - how many years altogether, by the way? - I wonder if you might get the relevant departments to take the exceptional circumstances into account and treat her as a widow.

What kind of support does she have just for day-to-day functioning?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

I guess we have come to the conclusion sister is not married. As such she is not entitled to his VA pension or any VA help.

I think because of her age, she cannot get any SS benefits against his SS. She may have to wait until she is 62. This is a question for SS.

Is she getting SSI? ( this isn't social security, its a state welfare) If so she has Medicaid? If no to both, she needs to apply for SSD. I would apply anyway.

Things may go faster with a lawyer versed in SS disability. He cannot charge her anything.

So sorry for all these problems. Social Services maybe able to help. If sister is on Medicaid there are government food give outs that will help her there. Food closets too. TG its getting warmer so she won't have the cost of heat. I would check about help with her electric and heating. My state has grants but you have to sign up early for them. Social Services maybe to help there. If she has cable, cut down to basic. If on Medicaid she can get safelink for her phone. Looks like from the info I have, you get a Android phone and 350 min. a month for free.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter