How Will Marriage Affect My Disability Benefits?

Submitted by Daniel on Thu, 06/20/2013 - 11:27

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.

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

Blog comments

Anonymous in Love (not verified)

Hi, I'm 62 and receive SSDI and the man whom I fall in love with, age 63, also receives SSDI; we would love to get married but we both can't afford to lose our incomes or Medicare. I receive $841 and he $1385; will echas change?

Sun, 03/13/2016 - 04:24 Permalink
Lisa (not verified)

I been on SSI for a very long time. I have a hard time wondering why I don't get a check every month. They told me it's because of my husband wages. If I'm found disable I should be getting SSI check every month. When my mom was living she was on SSI, she got a check every month and my father was working.

Mon, 03/14/2016 - 01:48 Permalink
Kristi (not verified)

I just started receiving ssdi benefits for my autistic son. I only work part time due to the amount of therapy he needs. If I get married, will I lose the ssdi I receive for him?

Wed, 03/16/2016 - 09:56 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Kristi (not verified)

Hi Kristi,
If your son is receiving SSI disability benefits, they are determined by household income and resource and so the benefits he is receiving may change based off of those determining factors.

Wed, 03/16/2016 - 16:03 Permalink
JayDa (not verified)

I currently receive SSI for my son. My fiance and I are planning on moving in together, which he currently receives SSDI. By him moving in with me will his check be affected. $733 is the only income my household has for a family of 5

Mon, 03/21/2016 - 12:06 Permalink
Deanna

In reply to by JayDa (not verified)

Hi JayDa,
This is a tricky question, but since your husband is on SSDI, I do not think that your son will lose his SSI benefits. It will of course depend on how much in SSDI benefits your husband is earning per month. If he is earning the maximum (around $2,600) then your son could potentially lose his benefits, but I doubt it.

Thu, 03/24/2016 - 17:01 Permalink
John (not verified)

I am currently Reciebing SSDI and my GF of almost 5 years and I do want to get married at some point in the near future but she is not disabled and does not receive SS benefits. So with God current rule if we get married if lose my SSDI and thus my Medicare insurance. Is their any other good alternative so I could still get married?

Mon, 03/21/2016 - 19:48 Permalink
Wendy (not verified)

Hi I have a question. I'm on ssi. And so us my boyfriend. We are thinking about moving in together. How will it effect our income? Will they touch our checks since we r not married. We would just be a boyfriend and girlfreind living together.

Mon, 03/21/2016 - 23:38 Permalink
Deanna

In reply to by Wendy (not verified)

Hi Wendy,
Your SSI checks will be reduced so your combined income is no more than $1,100 per month if you get married, but if you pay separate bills, they should not be affected.

Thu, 03/24/2016 - 16:59 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I am been married 10 years we are separating and I have been diagnosed with PTSD and I need to apply for benefits can I just get a separation notarized and not have to get a full divorce

Tue, 03/22/2016 - 17:29 Permalink
Deanna

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi there,
Feel free to speak with an advocate who can help you with the claim! You can fill out our form to the left to do so. Being married shouldn't affect your claim unless you are filing for SSI.

Thu, 03/24/2016 - 16:59 Permalink
Aleesha (not verified)

My boyfriend is receiving disability I believed based upon his father and he also receives Medicare if we decide to get married will this effect his check?

Wed, 03/23/2016 - 13:44 Permalink
brandon (not verified)

i am mildly disabled and my gf is permanently severley disabled. she is on ssdi and ssi. she is on tricare. if we get married, or move in together, how would that effect her

Wed, 03/23/2016 - 20:09 Permalink
Deanna

In reply to by Devin (not verified)

Hi Devin,
Yes, each member of your family will be eligible for up to 50% of his benefits, but your household income cannot exceed 180% of his benefits.

Thu, 03/24/2016 - 16:57 Permalink
Terra (not verified)

Hi my name is Terra. I am 26 and receive SSI, I have Sickle Cell and have received SSI since I was a young child. My boyfriend and I would like to get married soon. We have 1 child together. My boyfriend makes around $1450 a month. Besides my SSI that is our only income. I receive $733 for SSI. If we were to get married would I lose my SSI and/or health benefits?

Fri, 03/25/2016 - 23:25 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Terra (not verified)

Hi Terra,
If you're getting SSI, you may lose benefits, because while the family benefit limit is higher than the individual limit ($733), it's only $1,100 . Because of that, you may get reduced benefits. However, if you still have SSI benefits, then you are still eligible for Medicaid, so even if your benefit is reduced, the health benefits will still stay.

Mon, 03/28/2016 - 16:59 Permalink
Sean (not verified)

Hi, if my wife receive ssi, and I'm working 40 hours a week, does she loss her ssi? And what if I claim my tax merried separately , does she still loss her ssi? Thank u ..

Mon, 03/28/2016 - 13:19 Permalink
Eduardo (not verified)

Hi I receive SSI. I'm thinking of moving in with my girlfriend, but I don't know wether to report her as such or as a roommate due to fear of it affecting my benefits. Would it affect my benefits if I move in with her?

Tue, 03/29/2016 - 04:18 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Eduardo (not verified)

Hi Eduardo,
Moving in with your girlfriend would not change your benefits, unless you were getting married. I would contact the SSA for more information on that, their number is 1-800-772-1213.

Tue, 03/29/2016 - 12:16 Permalink
A. Flores (not verified)

I receive SSI and She receives SSDI, we want to get married.
How will this affect his SSI income.

Wed, 03/30/2016 - 18:48 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by A. Flores (not verified)

Hi,
SSI is determined by income, so if both of you combined are making more than the $1,100 household income limit, you may have your SSI benefits discontinued. SSDI would stay the same because it is determined by work record.

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 14:20 Permalink
A. Flores (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

Would I be able to get benefits from her SSDI instead if I were to lose my SSI income?

Fri, 04/01/2016 - 03:29 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by A. Flores (not verified)

Hi,
You would be eligible for benefits if you are over 62 and married for a year, or if you are caring for a child who is under 16 or disabled.

Fri, 04/01/2016 - 09:20 Permalink
Carmen (not verified)

My son and his girlfriend are both on the autism spectrum. She is receiving SSDI benefits through the Disabled Adult Child program with 80% Medicare and 20% Medicaid. They are both approaching 40 and want to get married. They have been told by SS that her benefits will stop if they do get married and he is not making enough to cover their needs which include insurance for both. Is there anything they can do?

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 12:44 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Carmen (not verified)

Hi Carmen,
I would get in touch with the SSA about this, as some marriages are exempt from the Disabled Adult Child rules on marriage. I would not be able to say that your son's does. It's possible that the SSA representative did not evaluate their situation to determine that such an exemption would apply.

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 14:34 Permalink
Barbara Genopolos (not verified)

My boyfriend and i both recieve ssi and ssd . If we get married will that stop my benefits or his ?

Fri, 04/01/2016 - 17:14 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Barbara Genopolos (not verified)

Hi Barbara,
I would not be able to say, but I do know that the resource and income limits for families are $3000 in resources and $1,100 a month in income. If your combined income and resources exceed this, you may lose part or all of your benefits.

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:19 Permalink
brian. (not verified)

As an appointed representative for my wifes ssdi,does my incom matter?

Fri, 04/01/2016 - 19:13 Permalink
Stephanie (not verified)

My fiance and I have been together 10 years and want to get married. She is on SSDI and I am fighting to get mine back. She has SSDI because of her cancer and things are not looking good, when she passes, how will that effect me? Will I inherit her debt?

Sun, 04/03/2016 - 20:36 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Stephanie (not verified)

Hi Stephanie,
I'm sorry to hear that!
I would not be able to say what you would be able to inherit as I'm not well informed about inheritance law, but I do know that SSDI payments do not need to be paid back unless the SSA has overpaid the recipient ( for example, someone who recovers from a disabling condition, does not report it to the SSA, and keeps getting benefits).

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:26 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by john butler (not verified)

Hi John,
You absolutely can, however if you're receiving SSI you would have your wife's income included in calculating your monthly income and you would be subject to the family income and resource limits for SSI.

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:30 Permalink
Peggy (not verified)

My Boyfriend is receiving SSDI because of a stroke. I am currently working. We are both 50 years old. If we were to get married, will I be eligible for benefits from his work history?

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 14:57 Permalink
Brina (not verified)

My boyfriend still works a full time job and is making around $25.00 an hour. I'm on SSDI Will my SSDI be affect If we get married? I am 54 and he is 60. How would this affect him? How would we file our taxes?

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 18:31 Permalink

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