20 CFR 404.336 and 404.621(a)
The issue before the AC was whether the claimant could become entitled to WIB as the worker's surviving divorced wife as early as January 1979.
The worker died on October 19, 1961. On August 2, 1979, and again on July 1, 1980, the claimant, born May 8, 1918, applied for WIB as the worker's surviving divorced wife. her applications were denied because she had failed to establish that her marriage to the worker had lasted for at least 10 years. When the claimant appealed the denial of her second application, an ALJ found that the claimant had been married to the worker for at least 10 years but less than 20 years. Consequently, the ALJ reopened the determination denying the claimant's first application and determined that she was entitled to WIB as the worker's surviving divorced wife effective January 1979.
Section 202(e)(1) of the Act provides, in pertinent part, that if certain requirements are met --
Section 216(d)(1) of the Act provides that --
Section 202(j)(4) of the Act provides, in pertinent part, that --
The AC concurred with the ALJ's findings that the claimant's marriage to the worker lasted at least 10 years but less than 20 years and that the claimant was entitled to WIB as the worker's surviving divorced wife. The AC, however, did not agree with the ALJ's finding that the claimant was entitled to those benefits as early as January 1979. Before January 1978, an application for WIB could be retroactive for as many as 12 months if all the requirements were met. As of January 1978, however, section 202(j)(4) of the Act provides that the retroactivity of an application for WIB is restricted, with certain exceptions, to the month of filing if the benefit that might otherwise be payable for an earlier month would be subject to reduction for age. Because the payment of WIB to the claimant for months before August 1979 would have been subject to such a reduction and none of the exceptions was applicable, the AC granted the request for review. In revising the ALJ's decision, the AC held that the claimant's entitlement to WIB as the worker's surviving divorced wife could begin no earlier than August 1979.
Back to Table of Contents