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How Will Marriage Affect My Social Security Disability Benefits?

Last week, we wrote a blog post answering a question that was sent to us through Facebook. We received some great feedback and readers have suggested that they’d like us to make this a regular thing. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Tell us what questions you’d like us to answer next week! Today’s question is:

Question: How will marriage affect my disability benefits?

Getting married may affect your disability benefits in a variety of ways. This is largely dependent on what type of benefits you receive—Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

If you receive SSI benefits, you likely already know that eligibility is determined based on your income and financial resources. Once you get married, the SSA will “deem” a portion of your spouse’s income to your record. Essentially, this means that they will consider your future husband or wife’s income to be your income as well. This may significantly reduce your monthly payment or even cause the SSA to terminate your benefits altogether.

It is important to note that, if you live with your significant other but are not yet married, the SSA may still decide to deem some of your partner’s income to your record. Currently, the SSA does not deem between same-sex couples even if they are married, registered domestic partners, or have a civil union license.

Learn more about spousal deeming and how it will affect your SSI benefits, here: Spousal Deeming.

If you receive SSDI on your own earnings record, getting married will have no impact on your benefits—no matter how much money your future spouse earns. If you receive SSDI based on someone else’s earnings record, your benefits could be affected in the following ways:

  • If you receive SSDI benefits under an eligible parent’s record, getting married will cause your benefits to be terminated. The only time benefits will not be terminated in this circumstance is if you are marrying another disabled adult child.
  • If you are currently receiving SSDI benefits on the work record of an ex-spouse, your benefits will be terminated if you remarry. This also applies to individuals who receive SSDI on the record of a deceased ex-spouse who remarry before age 50 if disabled, and before age 60 if not disabled.

Before you make any decisions regarding marriage or disability benefits, you should always consult with an SSA representative. That way, you can avoid unknowingly compromising your benefits. Please feel free to leave additional questions or comments in the section below and we will try our best to answer each of your questions.

Submitted By: Molly Clarke


A longtime friend of mine (30 plus years) died 3.July 2013. Three weeks before he passed he married a 27 year old,who he has been with on and off for 2 years. I think she coerced him into marriage and he was on strong pain medication. He was not very coherent the last 4 weeks of his life. The wife got pregnant by another man,while with my friend,she is also on meth and HIS pills and has lost custody of her 2 children due to the meth use. My friend applied for SSDI while he was ill,at this point I don't think he had gotten any approval/denial. His wife of 3 weeks (married on 8.June) now is claiming herself,her 9 year old and the baby who is now 6mths. old. She claims the baby is my friends,even though he had a Vasectomy 9 years ago. CPS has removed the children the day (12/26/2012) the baby was born due to her Meth addiction. They are still in Foster care. How can I turn her in for fraud,for claiming a child that is not my friends?

Your friends wife can claim SSI on her child she conceived while with him even though it is not is child. As long as they were married when the child was conceived she has rights to collect under there then husband.The same thing happened to a friend of mine. That's just how it is.

Jealous how would you know that man didn't marry her because he wanted to have a 27 year old wife ,I'd like to have a 27 year old wife..if I died and had a 27 yEar wife I would hate you if you stop her from receiving my benefits. like they were none of your business

Hi I was wondering my finece has ssi and I have ssdi will I lose my benefits or will they stay the same because he has disability a lot of people are saying I will lose it and what I just read it sounds like it's going to stay the same because my partner has disability

Hi Danielle, Your benefits will stay the same because you have SSDI, which are work-based. Your fiance could potentially lose all of his benefits, because SSI is need-based. If your combined income is over the $1,100 limit for a couple, he will become ineligible for SSI benefits.

I have the same question. We just like to know what to expect on our income. We want to marry but dont want to loose income. Neither of us can work now. He worked but now has ssd and I have bad back so get ssi. Just need to know. Thx

Hi Connie,
It will definitely depend on how much he's making or if he has any money saved up. He will not lose his benefits no matter what, but yours may be reduced. I would contact the SSA representative who handles your case to be sure.

hi danielle would i lose my ssi if my boyfriend is fighting for his ssdi he had a car accident and how would this work for me and him

Hi Danielle,
You probably will not lose your benefits if he receives SSDI, but they may be reduced to compensate for his additional income.

I'm a disabled custodial parent. My x husband has been approved for ssdi. He has a court order for child support and we just had the support re-evaluated for income adjustment. My question is, I WA told I was responsible for filling auxiliary benefits for our children. And if they were approved then his auxiliary payment would count as child support BUT I was also told that our children can not receive payments from both patents. Which equals no payments. The courts lowered his support, gave me thirty says to fill on behalf of our children, but in the mean time ordered child support. What can I expect from the ss administers and what benefits or child support can I expect to receive. I was also granted alimony for life, am I entitled to any payments from ss or payments from his check.

um yes you can get child support and part of his ssd money for your kids or kid as long as they are 18 and in school they are elegiable but if they are 18 yrs of age and not in school you can't get either one I know this to be a fact cause I get them both and if the ex isn't working and is on ssd you can collect child support from that ALSO ALONG WITH BENEFITS of his for kids.

I am someone that collects Disabled child benefits under my dads name. I am currently in my last e 20's and am engaged to get married late this year. My question is when i get married I would think the numeric value of my benefits to demenish or possibly deplete but when I go apply for SSI Disability does the amount of my spouse income determine how much I receive in benefits?

I am disabled receiving ssi want to get married and my significant other has child support does it affected my ssi income

if I were to get married and the man im marrying qualifies & is in the process of getting approved for ssdi & I get ssi would that affect our income but,more importantly my/our insurance??& if it would is there another way of getting married that wouldnt.thnx you for your time & assistance in this matter, very urgent to know I'm Catholic & prrgnant so it's a must.& does having a baby affect your ssi/insurance.thnx!! :-)

Im on SSI and plan to get marry soon to a foreign woman,can immigration decline her petition for residence base on that?

I am currently receiving Social Security Disability for me & my 8yr old son for mental illness. I am engaged to be married August 23rd. My fioncee does work. The social security benefits are the only income I have currently cause I need to be @ home due to mental health with my son & myself. Just wondering if getting married will effect my payments.

Hi Amanda,
This will depend on whether or not you receive SSDI or SSI benefits. If you receive SSI benefits, they could be reduced or eliminated entirely, even if he does not work. This is because marrying someone can increase your asset level above the maximum of $3000 for a couple that receives SSI payments.

If you receive SSDI and your daughter is an auxiliary beneficiary of yours, then your payments will not change.

Hi Nefertiti, Yes, if he works then his income will reduce your SSI payments because SSI is need-based. If he makes more than $1,100 a month, you will not be eligible for SSI benefits at all.

Hi Brenda, thank you for reaching out to us. If you get married while on SSI, there is a portion of your spouse's income and assets will be counted as yours. As SSI has a strict eligibility limit, there is a possibility that getting married could reduce your payments or, even, cause them to stop.

Hi Leti, Yes, if your new spouse in on SSDI then you may lose your SSI benefits. SSDI benefits are work-based, and these do not change after marriage. SSI benefits are need-based, so if your household income raises, SSI payments may decrease or even stop.

I currently receive ssdi income. My son is disabled and currently also receives ssi income. Now, I have a 10yr old daughter that recently got approve social security payments because her father suffered an injury and no longer able to work. Now after so many years of not being together we have decided to established a relationship and are looking into marriage down the road. My question is will this affect any of mine, my son's and my daughters income if we do decide to get married???

Hello Luzy, thank you for your question. If you decide to get married while on SSDI, it won't necessarily impact your payments because SSDI is based off your previous work history, not your current income and assets like SSI. In the case of your son and daughter, however, there is a possibility that it could be affected. I would suggest contacting the SSA and speaking to them about this situation, as the deeming process for disabled children varies case by case. You can call your local office or 1-800-772-1213.

my question is that if I'm married I can't receive ssi? I am still under age but I will me turning 18 next year on January, I just got married in July and had a baby, I was wondering if I can receive ssi even though I'm yunge. I had my disability since I was born and my husband don't receive enough income...

Hi Jordann, thank you for reaching out. Yes, you could potentially be eligible for SSI while being married. You will just have to meet the medical requirements proving that your disability prevents you from maintaining gainful employment by meeting the Blue Book guidelines, as well as meeting the technical requirements set forth by the SSA for SSI. As of 2014, as a couple, you cannot make more than $1,082 per month in income and cannot own more than $3,000 in assets.

If you'd like to read more about SSI, please visit our Qualify for SSI Benefits page. Also, if you'd like to speak to a disability attorney about your specific case, please fill out our Free Disability Evaluation form and an attorney will contact you.

Hi I married my best friend he is on ssi. And I work how much exactly can I earn before his cash gets cut? They ask for copies of our bills my car payments everything if u calculate it all we are barely getting by... nothing has changed in our financial arrangements we just got a marriage cert. But the first month he got a full. Check this month he got 3.00 I only make between 1100 to 1300 monthly its not enough to pay the bills .... please help me figure all this calculation out so I know what I'm allowed to earn or not....thank u

Hi Jamie, in order to be eligible for SSI, you need to meet the SSA's financial guidelines that are set for this need-based program. As a couple, you cannot make more than $1,082 per month in income and cannot own more than $3,000 in assets. Please feel free to read more about SSI on our Qualify for SSI Benefits page. If you'd like to speak to a disability attorney about your specific situation please fill out our Free Disability Evaluation form.

jamie my fiance is on ssi and guess what after contacting ssi saying he would be cut to 200 a month we pretty much are just having a ceremony on our own and im changing my last to his why? because in this world you cant make it on 300$ you should have considered this

im on disabilty ive never been married but would like too the man i wanna marry also gets disabilty will we loose our disabilty if we get married we need to know can someone help me ? please we have no small kids

Hi Cheryl, it depends on the type of disability benefits you and your partner are receiving. If you are both on SSDI, there is no income or asset limit and it wouldn't be affected. However, if one or both of you receive SSI, there is an income and asset limit, as it's a need-based program, and it could be affected. If you'd like to read more about SSDI and SSI, please visit the following:

Hi, just wanted to point out a few flaws in your Marriage Penalty Law and its set up! 1. Because SSI deemed me responsible for my spouse's income you have forced us to have to rely on the Gov. more due to the maximum we can earn as a couple which is only 1098.00 keeping us on welfare and suppressing us. 2. Its okay to be same sex marriage and these rules do not apply but if your Straight and married you get the full brunt of the deeming process. 3. If a person is on SSI need for a disability from birth or just can not work due to their disability's that money is what hey rely on, If they lose their SSI due to the deeming process and then lose their spouse due to the deeming process, they then have to go through the process all over again! So my Question is: How does this deeming process help these people on Disability that are Straight and trying to make ends meet off of 1098.00 a month!

I agree that the marriage penalty/deeming is extremely flawed... someone receiving SSI should be able to get married without the fear of losing their income (which is already not enough) as well as the healthcare that comes with it. I am quite fortunate in this aspect, as I had worked enough quarters and do receive SSDI and not SSI. As for your comment regarding people in same sex marriages not having to deal with these rules, you are currently correct. However, until same sex marriage is legal and equal throughout each state, and particularly recognized and equal federally, there really is no reasonable way to fix this! Hopefully gay marriage will soon be legal in every state, be federally recognized, and will come with all of the same federal benefits and federal penalties as opposite sex marriages!

Hi Kathy, His SSDI benefits will stay the same, but your SSI benefits may decrease. SSI is need-based and typically does down if you marry or move in with someone.

I'm 41. I was paralyzed at age 17. I didn't work enough quarters to get social security disability. My dad started receiving social security a few years ago which allowed me to start receiving social security off of him. If I got married would I stop receiving social security off of my dad?

Hello I'm going to be 18 soon Im getting ready to move in with my boyfriend At the moment i get around $750 from ssi ( living with my mother (my payee)) my boyfriend works but only makes around $200 every two to three weeks While his annual income affect me or will his monthly income affect me Note i will be putting or myself or him as the new payee

Hi Nancy, Yes, moving in with your boyfriend would most likely decrease your SSI payments because your new household would have a higher income.

me and my girlfriend are considering getting married, she does have a bank account that I have no access to no matter what, could this affect my ssi payments if im not on her account

Hi Scott, Getting married may lower your SSI payments if your girlfriend has assets and an income.

If there were two dif women getting child support though the one fathers SSI/SSDI and he thn married one of the mothers, where does the money go? Does the single mother them get the whole amount of support that had been split between the two children?

Hello my bf and I have been talking about marriage and we need to understand if anything will change.. I have ssi and he gets his own ssdi.. what will be effected if we get married. ?

Hi Myapa, If you receive SSI and marry him, your benefits may decrease because you'll have more assets and a higher income. His SSDI benefits will stay the same.

Hi Myapa, I do not know how much it would decrease. That all depends on how much your combined income and assets would be after moving in together. The same goes for food stamps. I'd recommend contacting your SSA representative to figure out how much you could lose in your specific scenario.