Can I prevent my dead father’s wife from drawing SS on his disability?

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Can I prevent my dead father’s wife from drawing SS on his disability?

My my dad just died and he lived with his girlfriend for 14 years. He was considered married to her since they lived together for more than 5 years. I just received a call from my dad’s legal wife asking for a copy of his death certificate so she can draw disability. My father has been separated from this women for over 20 years. Is there anything I can do to prevent her from drawing benefits from my dad’s disability?

Asked on October 13, 2011 under Family Law, Mississippi

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am very sorry for your loss.  Although I am not an attorney admitted in Mississippi,I have reviewed what I think are the issues here and the applicable laws involved to try and help.  I think that when you are referring to the "more than 5 years" issue you are referring to a possible common law marriage issue.  Unless there is some statute that is particular to your area of Mississippi, you can be common law married in a day and do not have to wait five years.  So that need to be straightened out.  But I do have to tell you that Mississippi does NOT recognize common law marriages.  But if they did recognize them, your father would have had to be legally divorced from the "other" wife before he entered in the common law marriage for it to be valid.  So he is still legally married to the other woman and she mat be able to elect spousal rights under the law with regard to his disability payments.  I do not think that you can do anything to prevent it.  Good luck. 


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