There are many VA benefits a spouse is eligible for, but not everyone is eligible for the designation of “spouse.” While what constitutes a valid marriage is usually left up to the individual 50 states, the VA does have its own interpretations and can add or subtract requirements in certain circumstances. This brief article will highlight some anomalies in the VA’s marriage requirements.
The VA defines the term marriage as meaning “a marriage valid under the law of the place where the parties resided at the time of marriage, or the law of the place where the parties resided when the right to benefits accrued.” The VA defines the term spouse as meaning “a person of the opposite sex whose marriage to the veteran meets the requirements of § 3.1(j).” Though the VA and Congress has not updated 38 C.F.R. § 3.50(a) and 38 U.S.C. § 101(31), the opposite sex requirement was invalidated when the Secretary of the VA announced the VA would no longer enforce it. Continue Reading