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Will I Lose My Disability Benefits if I Get Married?

Most would agree that the Social Security Administration is not against marriage. In its own interests, it really has no reason to have one bias or the other. However, disgruntled Social Security Disability beneficiaries are finding it hard not to make this conclusion, based on their personal experience.

A man from Fort Meyers, for instance, submitted an opinion letter to his local paper expressing such a frustration. After becoming quadriplegic and struggling to stay employed in spite of it, his SSI benefits were cut nearly in half after he got married, and in half again when his and his wife’s income were deemed ‘too high,’ forcing an unreasonably hard lifestyle on both of them. Stories like this abound.

The SSA’s rules about SSI (and sometimes SSDI) being determined by a total household’s income, and not simply on the income of the disabled person, leads to many claimants feeling that they have to choose between getting married and receiving disability benefits. These rules are not designed to be wedding crashers, but rather to keep people from receiving unwarranted amounts of hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars because of lifestyle changes that take them out of critical need.

Many argue that the limits that are set on personal household income in order to receive benefits, and the fact that they are cut automatically when a beneficiary is married or obtains other household income fail to account for individual cases.

In defense of the SSA, it would be nearly impossible to make exceptions and decisions based on each individual situation of every beneficiary, and even it if were possible, rulings would still have to have some standard or criteria against which to judge the fairness of those decisions, so as not to be accused of favoritism or bias.

On the other hand, there is certainly room for consideration of reforms and appeal processes, as the SSA’s disability application process is definitely not perfect and will need to be adjusted as the cultural standards and costs of living change, along with updating the average indexed monthly earnings.

If you are considering getting married, it is important to consider how it might affect your SSDI or SSI disability benefits so that you are aware of any potential changes to the income upon which you rely. Be sure to contact the Social Security Administration, and if it turns out that marriage will significantly affect your benefits you will want to know any and all options that are available to you prior to making any changes.


My fiancee and I are both on disability. We only get around $700 each a month and that is what we survuve on. We are allotted enough to each survive for one individual thats all. I am wondering if either of our benefits will be decreased even being that we are only receiving enough for 2 individuals to survive independently. This is our only income and we are to disabled to work at all. Can anyone answer this question for us? We live in the state of Pennsylvania. Best Regards and God Bless, Sara L. Dudley (Well soon to be Dudley lol)

Did you ever find out anything about you and your fiancee check did they decreased it!! Want to know iam in the same situation

Hi did you ever get any information on getting married and both individuals receiving disability insurance...does our benefit amount change?

Hi Frederick,
This will depend on whether or not you and your spouse receive SSDI or SSI benefits. If you receive SSDI benefits, your payments will not change after marriage. If you're receiving SSI benefits, which are need-based, your benefits will most likely decrease or even stop. This is because the additional household income will affect your overall need, and the SSA will compensate for that.

Hello, my name is Sara and I just got approved for my SSI benefits at my ALJ hearing in P.A. on July 14th of this year. I was married shortly thereafter on July 22nd. My husband has been on SSI/SSD for about 7 years now and he get $728.00 a month plus &90.00 in food stamps. I am still waiting on my first check which I was told would be direct deposited into my account on September 1st and I am also waiting on my back check as I applied in September of "09". Of course my attorney and welfare need to be reimbursed as I received $200.00 a month for the last year from the P.A. welfare system. I have not been given an exact amount of what I will receive monthly yet or what my back check will be but at the hearing when the judge made his decision he stated that I would receive $680.00 a month...of course this was before he knew I was getting married. Casn anyone tell me approximately how much they may cut my check if any due to my new husbands SSI/SSD income of $780.00 a nmonth (Which anyone can see is only enough to support one person.)? Sara L. Dudley

My parents both got social security, but both had different kinds, they both worked very hard for years and of course had to fight a longtime before they got their benefits. They told my dad since my mom was getting benefits and they were married he could not collect his, they would have to live off from just hers, and that is not fair nor is it enough to live off from. So how is it fair they pay in all these years, just to be told they cannot get what is owed to them?, what is given to live off from is barely given enough to exist especially with the prices now a days. People cannot even be married, not right especially when they make barely enough to survive even when together. I'm not talking about those who live beyond their means either, I'm talking about honest hard working people who have ruined their bodies and sometimes minds working so hard for years to support their families. So much money is wasted, so many go without so sad how things are

My daughter has been together with this man for about 4 years and got married about a month ago. They had informed disability about it and were told not to worry. They also traded in their old car for a new one, since the old car was having transmission trouble and was standard, which she could not drive. They said that was fine. This past weekend their disability wad dropped to $125 each and his social security stayed at $850. How can they possibly survive on that?. Now, she wants to have their marriage annulled. We are all saddened by this. But, what can they do? Who can they talk to

Hi there, I am sorry to hear that. If your daughter was receiving SSI, her payments should have gone down after getting married. SSI is a need-based program and her new husband's benefits would affect her household income and total assets. I believe someone misinformed you when he/she said that you daughter's benefits would not change. She can call her SSA agent to discuss her options. If her husband is on SSDI and not SSI, your daughter may qualify for auxiliary benefits. Good luck.

Well my daughter wants to get married to. She does draw ssi 733 a month her boyfriend has been approved but, she will be receiving ssdi but, they don't know the amount yet. I guess this will affect her income if they add both together because they his amount I am guessing will be with his work record and the military added together his check is going to be over 1200 a month probably. If anyone has been in this situation could you apply to me.? It's a shame that they wont let people get married like this what do they want them to do live on scraps and pieces when they can't work like other people. My daughter had heart surgery in april and she can barely pay her rent and live for the month.

Hi Linda,
You should contact the SSA about this. Not all income is counted towards disability benefits, so she could potentially keep her benefits.