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Social Security Alert: Marriage Changes Things, but You Need to Report Status Changes to SSA

The editorial staff at yesterday posted a reminder that any changes to marital status need to be reported timely to the Social Security Administration, noting that these changes must be reported within 10 days after the end of the month in which the change took place. Their post, which you can access here, stresses that “If you fail to report a change in marital status and you collect SS benefits, you could face a penalty and would have to pay back any overpayments. Or, you could miss out on additional payments you were due.” Check the post out for more detail.

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Comments On This Topic

  1. Oh merci for your prompt answer….I knew that we could get help from american people and offices and this is the proof…
    I keep your post handy in case I decide to PACS in France with a french man.
    I was married 23 years, happy with a american and we lived in the US most of the time, then in France till he passed away.
    The consulat was more than helpful when that happened…..In Asia ! I was devastated and totally lost, thank for that help.
    I get the retirement benefit, not much after taxes I have to say, and does not like to loose what ever it is !
    Russel many thanks,

    • Christine,
      A PACS union is not equivalent to marriage under French law, and U.S. Social Security does not recognized a French PACS contract as a marriage. Thus, U.S. Social Security widow’s benefits would not normally be available if the couple’s relationship was limited to a PACS arrangement. However, if the French widow was the legally married spouse of an American citizen, U.S. Social Security benefits MAY possibly be available, depending on where the widow lives and where the couple lived while they were married, and for how long. The rules governing U.S Social Security payments to non-US residents and to those living outside of the U.S. are very complex, but Social Security provides an online screening tool which will assist with the answer to your question. You can access that tool at this link:
      As you will see, you will need to provide information considerably more detailed than you have provided in your website post, but the screening tool should provide the answer you seek. If you have any difficulty, please feel free to provide us with additional information regarding the couple’s circumstances via email at We’ll be happy to assist you further if you encounter difficulties using Social Security’s Payments Abroad Screening Tool.
      Russell Gloor
      National Social Security Advisor
      The AMAC Foundation

  2. Does the french PACS affect the social security benefit for a french woman who is an american widow ?
    Thank for your answer.

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