38 U.S.C. § 103 - Special provisions relating to marriages

Cite as:38 U.S.C. § 103
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-158 (08/14/2020)
 
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(a) Whenever, in the consideration of any claim filed by a person as the widow or widower of a veteran for gratuitous death benefits under laws administered by the Secretary, it is established by evidence satisfactory to the Secretary that such person, without knowledge of any legal impediment, entered into a marriage with such veteran which, but for a legal impediment, would have been valid, and thereafter cohabited with the veteran for one year or more immediately before the veteran's death, or for any period of time if a child was born of the purported marriage or was born to them before such marriage, the purported marriage shall be deemed to be a valid marriage, but only if no claim has been filed by a legal widow or widower of such veteran who is found to be entitled to such benefits. No duplicate payments shall be made by virtue of this subsection.

(b) Where a surviving spouse has been legally married to a veteran more than once, the date of original marriage will be used in determining whether the statutory requirement as to date of marriage has been met.

(c) In determining whether or not a person is or was the spouse of a veteran, their marriage shall be proven as valid for the purposes of all laws administered by the Secretary according to the law of the place where the parties resided at the time of the marriage or the law of the place where the parties resided when the right to benefits accrued.

(d)

(1) The remarriage of the surviving spouse of a veteran shall not bar the furnishing of benefits to such person as the surviving spouse of the veteran if the remarriage is void, or has been annulled by a court with basic authority to render annulment decrees unless the Secretary determines that the annulment was secured through fraud by either party or collusion.

(2)

(A) The remarriage of the surviving spouse of a veteran shall not bar the furnishing of benefits specified in paragraph (5) to such person as the surviving spouse of the veteran if the remarriage has been terminated by death or divorce unless the Secretary determines that the divorce was secured through fraud or collusion.

(B) The remarriage after age 57 of the surviving spouse of a veteran shall not bar the furnishing of benefits specified in paragraph (5) to such person as the surviving spouse of the veteran. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, the remarriage after age 55 of the surviving spouse of a veteran shall not bar the furnishing of benefits under section 1781 of this title to such person as the surviving spouse of the veteran.

(3) If the surviving spouse of a veteran ceases living with another person and holding himself or herself out openly to the public as that person's spouse, the bar to granting that person benefits as the surviving spouse of the veteran shall not apply in the case of the benefits specified in paragraph (5).

(4) The first month of eligibility for benefits for a surviving spouse by reason of paragraph (2)(A) or (3) shall be the month after-

(A) the month of the termination of such remarriage, in the case of a surviving spouse described in paragraph (2)(A); or

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