The VAWA Mafia is continually dreaming up ways to provide new incentives for persons to claim to be victims of abuse. In this case, they want to waive the 10-year marriage requirement to tap into an ex-spouse’s Social Security payments. Note the broad definition of domestic violence that includes ”mental abuse.”
This provision hasn’t been introduced (yet), but we need to keep a close watch for this kind of stuff:
Esmie’s Law: An Act to Provide an Exception for Domestic Violence Victims from Marriage Duration Requirements for Divorced Spousal and Surviving Divorced Spousal Benefits.
To amend Title II of the Social Security Act to provide for an equitable exception for domestic violence victims from the 10-year marriage duration requirement for divorced spousal and surviving divorced spousal benefits. In cases where divorce occurs because of domestic violence, a divorced spouse or surviving divorced spouse would not need to be married for 10 years to collect Social Security benefits under § 202(b)(1), (c)(1), (e)(1) and (f)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 402).
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act may be cited as Esmie’s Law.
SECTION 2. EXCEPTION FROM 10 YEAR MARRIAGE REQUIREMENT FOR DIVORCED SPOUSES AND SURVIVING DIVORCED SPOUSES WHO WERE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THEIR MARRIAGE
(a) Exception From 10 Year Marriage Requirement-
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 216(d)(1), (d)(2), (d)(4) and (d)(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 416(d)) is amended by inserting `subject to an equitable exception for victims who suffered domestic violence during their marriage’ after `a period of 10 years immediately before the date the divorce becomes effective’ in the matter immediately preceding subsection (d)(2), (d)(3), (d)(5) and (d)(6).
(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 402(a)(7)(A)(iii) of such Act (42 U.S.C. § 602(a)(7)(A)(iii)) is amended by inserting ‘marriage requirements for surviving divorced spouses’ after ‘individuals receiving assistance’ in the subsection.
(b) Definitions of Relevant Terms-
(1) DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE- For purposes of this Act, the term “domestic violence” has the same meaning as the term “battered or subjected to extreme cruelty”, as defined in section 408(a)(7)(C)(iii) of the Social Security Act:
(I) physical acts that resulted in, or threatened to result in, physical injury to the individual;
(II) sexual abuse;
(III) sexual activity involving a dependent child;
(IV) being forced as the caretaker relative of a dependent child to engage in nonconsensual sexual acts or activities;
(V) threats of, or attempts at, physical or sexual abuse;
(VI) mental abuse; or
(VII) neglect or deprivation of medical care.
(2) DETERMINATION OF EQUITABLE EXCEPTION- Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commissioner of Social Security shall issue a proposed rule defining the factors for Administrative Law Judges to use in determining what is covered under an `equitable exception’ for purposes of sections 216(d) and 402(a)(7)(A)(iii) of the Social Security Act (as amended by subsection (a) of this Act). The factors shall include (but not be limited to) the length of marriage and the severity, frequency, duration and nature of domestic violence suffered.
(3) DETERMINATION THAT INDIVIDUAL WAS A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – For purposes of subparagraph (a) of this Act, a finding of an ‘equitable exception’ under subparagraph (b)(2) of this Act is a determination that the applicant was a victim who suffered domestic violence during their marriage, which is made by the Social Security Administration or official of the Social Security Administration based upon—
(I) information provided by any medical, legal, counseling, or other clinic, shelter, sexual assault program, or other program or entity licensed, recognized, or authorized by the State or unit of general local government to provide services to victims of domestic violence or sexual assault;
(II) information provided by any agency of the State, unit of general local government, or nonprofit nongovernmental organization that provides or administers the provision of social, medical, legal, or health services;
(III) information provided by any clergy;
(IV) information provided by any hospital, clinic, medical facility, or doctor licensed or authorized by the State or unit of general local government to provide medical services;
(V) a petition or complaint filed in a court or law or documents or records of action of any court or law enforcement agency, including any record of any protection order, injunction, or temporary or final order issued by civil or criminal courts or any police report; or
(VI) information, evidence or testimony provided by the victim and any other witness(es) to the domestic violence. A victim’s statement that domestic violence has occurred shall be sufficient unless the agency has an independent, reasonable basis to find the individual not credible.
(c) Interim Final and Final Rules-
(1) INTERIM FINAL RULE- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commissioner of Social Security shall issue an interim final rule defining the standards for Administrative Law Judges to use in determining who shall qualify for an `equitable exception’ in accordance with the requirements of subsection (a) and (b) of this Act and shall provide for a period of public comments on such rule.
(2) FINAL RULE- Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commissioner of Social Security shall issue a final rule defining the standards for Administrative Law Judges to use in determining who shall qualify for an `equitable exception’ for victims of domestic violence in accordance with the requirements of subsections (a) and (b) of this Act and taking into consideration of any public comments received during the period required under paragraph (c)(1) of this Act.
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