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

Bryan

In reply to by Brina (not verified)

Hi Brina,
Your SSDI benefits will not be affected! I would not be able to say how you would file your taxes, but I would definitely reach out to a tax professional for help with that.

Tue, 04/05/2016 - 13:04 Permalink
Ashley (not verified)

I have the questions. My husband probably doesn't have enough work credits to qualify for disability but is it possible for him to qualify off of my work credits? I've had someone suggest it before. He's 32 and I'm 31.
Also, if we are married but do not live together would my income still affect him if he could get SSI?

Fri, 04/08/2016 - 17:58 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Ashley (not verified)

Hi Ashley,
if your husband is 62 years or older, or caring for a child under 16, he would qualify for benefits under your account. Also, your income would still count towards the limits for SSI.

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 10:13 Permalink
Regina Howard (not verified)

I found out my husband gets SSI 733.00 monthly I make 32000. a year is he entitled to SS benefits there are no children involved.

Sun, 04/10/2016 - 02:51 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Regina Howard (not verified)

Hi Regina,
it may be that your husband did not apply for benefits as married, as that 733 dollars a month is the maximum benefit rate for single people.

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 10:16 Permalink
MandM (not verified)

My wife receives SSDI and my step daughter has been getting SSDI also because of her (all of this was established before the marriage). We just had a child together, is he eligible for SSDI as well? Also does my income affect any of the dependents SSDI?

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 12:32 Permalink
Tonia (not verified)

If I got married last year in December and my new husband is receiving ssd and I receive sis will they cut his money to give it to me. Also will my ssi benefits increase or decrease.Also will I receive retro back money.

Mon, 04/11/2016 - 22:48 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Tonia (not verified)

Hi Tonia,
No, they will not cut your husband's money to give to you. You benefits will likely decrease because the SSA would factor in your husband's income into your benefits. I do not think you would get any more back pay then what the SSA may have already awarded you.

Tue, 04/12/2016 - 10:28 Permalink
Valerie (not verified)

Hello. I am a 60 year old woman and have been totally disabled since 1992. I am only receiving SSI, as I did not have enough "points" for SSDI. I have been living with a man for 10 years now. He has MAJOR heart issues and was awarded SSDI a couple of years ago, with back pay. We are talking about getting married, but we have concerns. I KNOW my SSI will stop, but will I lose my Medicare, and since I am disabled, would I be entitled to benefits on his Soc. Sec. work record? PLEASE give me some feedback ASAP, as I can't seem to get a straight answer from soc security. Thank you

Wed, 04/13/2016 - 23:20 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Valerie (not verified)

Hi Valerie,
If you're getting Medicare coverage through your state's Medicaid program, you may still be eligible for coverage depending on your spouse's income and resources. You may be eligible for auxiliary benefits under your spouse's work record if the benefit amount you would be eligible for under his record is more than the amount you would get on your own, and if you are over 62 years of age.

Thu, 04/14/2016 - 09:21 Permalink
Valerie (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

Hi. I am a little confused because some of your answers say you can draw from a spouses benefit, IF YOU ARE OVER 50 AND DISABLED. and above , you say if you are OVER 62. can you please clarify that for me. I AM permantly disabled. there are SEVERAL places in these Q&A's where it states you can draw at 50 if disabled, off of your spouses benefits

Fri, 04/15/2016 - 05:51 Permalink
Candida (not verified)

I receive permanent disability and they do make my husband pay taxes on it when we file our taxes. Should my benefit of changed because we are married?

Thu, 04/14/2016 - 07:42 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Candida (not verified)

Hi Candida,
If you are getting SSDI, then no because those benefits are based off of your work record. If you are getting SSI, then yes because the limits for income and resources are different for individuals and families.

Thu, 04/14/2016 - 09:33 Permalink
Jessica (not verified)

Hi my fiancee and I want to get married. I have two kids with someone else and I receive ssi. We live separately and plan to stay that way due to his medical bills and I live in low income housing. He wants to adopt my kids also. My question is if we get married but live separately will his income still be considered mine and mess with my disability payments

Fri, 04/15/2016 - 14:02 Permalink
Ginger Montemayor (not verified)

I am fifty five my husband Is sixty he gets 1,299 dollars in disibility. I am disabled I have a protein loosing entropy. My Doctor said I was disabled. Can I draw social security ssi. I live in Dallas, Texas.

Sun, 04/17/2016 - 14:11 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Ginger Montemayor (not verified)

Hi Ginger,
You may be eligible for SSI benefits if you and your husband meet the income limits. I would contact the SSA office in your area for more information, here's a listing of TX SSA offices:
http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-loca…
You may also want to talk to a disability advocate or attorney, they would be able to help you throughout the application process. If you fill out the form on the left, we can have one in your area reach out to you as well.

Mon, 04/18/2016 - 10:29 Permalink
Alicia (not verified)

Hi.
I get SSI as well as Ssdi from my mom since I was considered disabled before she was disabled. I am 24 and I want to get married, I know that if I do it will affect my earnings. I don't care about the money, I just need the medical. My question is if I get married will I also lose the Medicare I get from my mom? My last question is. If I lost everything do you think I could apply for Medicaid and be approved since I have brain tumors? I have had two surgeries already and need another. I will always need surgery because my brain tumors come back.

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 11:22 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Alicia (not verified)

Hi Alicia,
You may still be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid after marriage, but some states require a separate application for Medicaid while on SSI.

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 14:06 Permalink
hannah (not verified)

my boyfriend is on ssi and everyone told him he could get marryed and not lose his check is that true or will he lose his check

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 18:00 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by hannah (not verified)

Hi Hannah,
If your boyfriend gets married his spouse's income would also be counted to calculate his benefits, If this is the case he may lose his benefits depending on the SSA's calculation of his household income.

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 14:08 Permalink
Pamela (not verified)

My fiance and I are in our late 50's. We are both disabled. We both receive SSD and SSI and Medicare and Medicaid. I also have Leukemia. We want to get married and are trying to find out how all of our benefits will be effected but are being told all different stories...HELP!

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 21:59 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Pamela (not verified)

Hi Pamela,
After marriage, your SSI benefits would be calculated based on both your income and your fiance's income. You may still be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid at this point, but you may have a reduction in your SSI benefits.

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 14:10 Permalink
Charla K. (not verified)

My fiancé and I are both disabled, but are wanting to get married. We are wondering how it would mess with our disability payments.

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 23:32 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by haley deming (not verified)

Hi Haley,
Your SSI benefits are paid out to you if you are the person that was awarded benefits, even if your benefits are subject to the household benefit limits.

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 13:14 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Helene (not verified)

Hi Helene,
If both of you are on SSDI, then you would not experience a change in benefits because both of you would be getting benefits based off of your work record.

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 16:35 Permalink
Stephanie (not verified)

My fiance is a disabled adult child and we would like to get married. I am currently battling with ssi and have a hearing in a year but I won't be a disabled adult child either can we get married for one before my hearing and /or after my hearing without it affecting his benefits.?

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 22:45 Permalink
Holly (not verified)

I've been married for 11 years and my husband has been receiving SSDI since 2008. He receives $745 a month. I applied for SSI in 2013 (since I didn't have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI like my husband. He's worked a lot in the past&paid a lot of taxes. I don't work. I'm 32&I've only had 2 jobs my whole life...one lasting about 3-4 months, and the other only lasting a month so I figured didn't qualify for SSDI)...anyway,I applied for SSI in 2013&was denied February 19th 2014, without them sending me to a psychologist or asking for any proof/ verifications such as my birth certificate,marriage certificate,I.D.,etc. They were very quick to deny me, which I thought was strange. Could it be because my husband already receives SSDI? Anyway, I did appeal it and the Law Offices of Agnew&Rosenberger have been working with me since about mid 2014. I recently FINALLY just found out from my lawyer that I will be going in front of the appeals judge in July (of this year) and they still have to set up an appointment for me to meet with my lawyer face to face, to discuss what's going on in more depth, but mainly for him to explain to me what to expect when we go in front of the judge,etc. I can ask him these questions when I see him within the next couple months, but I'm very anxious&I thought I'd get additional advice, if that's allowed. My main concern is since my husband is on SSDI since he worked for years, and I'm trying to get SSI (even though I'm disabled as well) since I didn't work enough&didn't put enough money in the system, that I won't qualify or they'll take a bunch of money out of his check. Will you please give me some advice of what could, or will happen so I can be prepared? How much will being married affect me&getting my benefits? Would being separated or divorced help me get MY benefits, or help me get more? My husband&I aren't doing too well anyway. I'm so confused&worried that being married will disqualify me, or I'll only get like $50 a month or something disappointing like that, and I really need it. Any help or advice would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thank you!

Sun, 05/01/2016 - 19:36 Permalink
Deanna

In reply to by Holly (not verified)

Hi Holly,
So sorry to hear about all of this! You can rest assured that if you are approved for SSI benefits, nothing will be coming out of your husband's check. You were also not likely denied because your husband was on SSDI benefits. There are many couples where one partner is on SSDI and the other is on SSI. Your best bet is to do as you are and speaking with attorneys who can help you win at your ALJ hearing. That is actually where 50% of claims are won anyway, so it's your best shot! You should also call your local SSA office every month or so and check in on the status of your claim and determine if you need to send in any additional paperwork. That can go a long way in winning your claim.

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 12:45 Permalink
Concerned... (not verified)

I don't know how this works but this is not right at all. My fiance and I are getting married real soon, I am talking weeks. I am on SSI, he sadly lost his business 6 months ago due to an old injury that he is still suffering for. However, if we get married, I lose my income, how fair is that? We are barely making it now? Bs

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 06:42 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Concerned... (not verified)

Hi Concerned,
The rules and regulations about SSI and SSDI are sometimes complex, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you will lose benefits. The maximum benefit amount actually goes up after marriage, but after that it also includes your fiance's income as part of the eligibility calculation. If both of you are making under 1,100 a month combined, you may not experience a change in benefits.

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 09:24 Permalink
Yvonne arnold (not verified)

I want to get married but I am on ssi and he works but he takes care of me with cooking taken showers does my laundry takes me to all Dr.apps and so forth please help thank you... yvonne arnold ..

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 13:54 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Yvonne arnold (not verified)

Hi Yvonne,
If you get married your benefits would be subject to the family benefit limit of $1,100 a month rather than the individual benefit limit of $733 a month, so you may not lose your benefits if you get married, depending on your husband's income.

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 14:49 Permalink
Lennie thomas (not verified)

I've been married to same wife for 32 years I'm on Disabilty with the best insurance don't have to co pays at doctors , hospitals or anything else I pay a little for my meds my wife is wanting to work but I don't want to hurt my spin down right now I have no spin down if she works is that going to hurt my benefits

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 14:15 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Lennie thomas (not verified)

Hi Lennie,
It would depend on if you are receiving SSI or SSDI benefits. If you are getting SSI benefits, then your wife's income may affect your benefits. If you are receiving SSDI, then that would not affect your benefits because those benefits are based off of your own work history rather than anything else.

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 14:52 Permalink
Maria (not verified)

I am on ssdi. If I get married and my husband is not working because he is trying to get approved for ssdi himself. Will it affect my ssdi check and can he get Medicare benefits off my Medicare because he would be my spouse.

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 01:26 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Maria (not verified)

Hi Maria,
SSDI is based off of an individual's work record rather than income, so your SSDI benefits may not affect your spouse's. Additionally, Medicare enrollment is only for one person, but your spouse may be eligible for Medicare if he is approved for SSDI.

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 09:08 Permalink
Gloria (not verified)

I want to get married how ever I have SSDI from my own income and I also am a single mother so my son's Medicaid might be affected. Not sure. My man makes alot but not enough for me to loose my benefits or my son's. I am worried if we deside to get married what could happen to our benefits. My man is not on ssdi or ssi. What are my options?

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 22:49 Permalink
Bryan

In reply to by Gloria (not verified)

Hi Gloria,
As far as your SSDI goes, it should be all set as that's not based on your income or your household's income. As far as Medicaid:
It really would depend on the state, as Medicaid is a state run program and the criteria (beyond earning up to 133% of the federal poverty level) would change based on the state. I would call your state's Medicaid program to follow up. However, you may be eligible to receive auxiliary benefits for your child, so if you have not, those benefits may be used to help cover the cost of healthcare for your child.

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 09:49 Permalink
Machelle (not verified)

I would like to know if I marry my boyfriend who get SSDI, will I get spousal benefits? I work full time. We are 47 and 48.

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 09:26 Permalink
Vontressa (not verified)

I just started the process of applying for my 14 yr old daughter. I live in a house I bought with my boyfriend. We both work full time and each pays half of all the bills. We both make around 40000 per year. I have 2 other children living with me. None are his children. At first I wasn't going to say anything about him since we have separate finances. But after reading questions it looks like I am required to. We both own 1 vehicle and the house is in both our names. Should I list him as part of my household?

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 12:27 Permalink

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