How Will Marriage Affect My Disability Benefits?

Submitted by Daniel on

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


In reply to by Craig (not verified)

Hi Craig,

Hi Craig,
I'm happy to say that her retirement benefits would not be affected, as your SSDI is based only on your work record.

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 10:29 Permalink
Michelle (not verified)

My question: If I work and my

My question: If I work and my fianc'e receives ssdi, if we get married...will his medical assistance be affected?

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 04:25 Permalink

In reply to by Michelle (not verified)

Hi Michelle,

Hi Michelle,
If your fiance receives medical assistance based off his income and resources, his medical assistance may be affected if your income and resources are counted along with his. However, His SSDI eligibility and Medicare eligibility would not be affected by marriage.

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 10:32 Permalink
Frank jack (not verified)

I was receiving some grant

I was receiving some grant from government(paying by house rent). I got married and stopped receiving it. But now Im planning on getting a divorced will I still receive my grant from government again. Thanks

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 11:59 Permalink

In reply to by Frank jack (not verified)

Hi Frank,

Hi Frank,
You may still qualify for disability benefits based on your income after divorce.

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 14:54 Permalink
Melissa (not verified)

I am 31 and receive SSI and

I am 31 and receive SSI and SSDI which one is the bigger check? And if I get married will I lose either of them? I'm considered disabled since the age of 18 because of a car accident and a brain injury.

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 22:58 Permalink

In reply to by Melissa (not verified)

Hi Patricia,

Hi Patricia,
Generally, SSDI may be the larger portion of your monthly benefits. If you do get married, you may lose SSI benefits as those are income based, and after marriage income your spouse's income is counted along with yours for the purpose of SSI benefits.

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 12:07 Permalink
Patricia (not verified)

Hi my boyfriend and I are

Hi my boyfriend and I are wanting to get married but he has SSI benefits that help pay our house payment and some other bills right now if we get married is he going to lose it all even if he works as well?

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 07:48 Permalink

In reply to by Patricia (not verified)

Hi Patricia,

Hi Patricia,
SSI is based on income and resources, and one married, the SSA calculates SSI benefits based on the combined income and resources of both spouses, so he may lose benefits if you are married and earn more than $1,100 a month.

Tue, 06/14/2016 - 12:09 Permalink
Hugo Garcia (not verified)

I receive ssi, if i marry and

I receive ssi, if i marry and my wife does not work will my benefits increase

Wed, 06/15/2016 - 18:19 Permalink

In reply to by Hugo Garcia (not verified)

Hi Hugo,

Hi Hugo,
If you receive SSI and your wife works, you actually might lose your benefits completely. Your wife cannot earn more than $1,100 per month for you to qualify.

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 14:55 Permalink
MrsBryant (not verified)

I receive Ssdi and so does

I receive Ssdi and so does my fiance if we get married will our checks stop

Sat, 06/18/2016 - 21:12 Permalink

In reply to by MrsBryant (not verified)

Hi Mrs. Bryant,

Hi Mrs. Bryant,
If both of you are getting benefits based off of your individual work records, you may not lose benefits after marriage.

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 10:10 Permalink
Cynthia O'Leary (not verified)

I have been receiving SSDI

I have been receiving SSDI for 13 years. Me and my partner have been together for 14 years, he was the one that explained to me that I should be qualified for SSDI. We want to get married but are afraid that I would loose my SSDI. I was approved based on the years I worked, would his income affect my SSDI Benefits.

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 11:01 Permalink

In reply to by Cynthia O'Leary (not verified)

Hi Cynthia,

Hi Cynthia,
SSDI benefits are based off of your work record, and so you may not lose benefits because of marriage.

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 11:36 Permalink
taz (not verified)

Az does not recognize common

Az does not recognize common law marriage but my fiance and i have been living together since 1 yr before his ssdi was approved (3 yrs ago) He has provided half or more of my children's support for all of that time. Is it possible to get stepchild benefits for my children? His disability currently provides more than half of their support evening and has for 3 yrs. Do we have to legally marry in order for them to qualify for stepchild benefits?

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 08:02 Permalink
Mommy (not verified)

I get 700 a month on ssi and

I get 700 a month on ssi and if I would marry my boyfriend who makes around 2500 a month what would this do to my ssi

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 12:02 Permalink
Robert mendoza (not verified)

Hi if I receive Ssi and ssdi

Hi if I receive Ssi and ssdi and get married will it affect me I only receive 750 a month I receive a check on the 1and one on the 3

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 23:46 Permalink
Mary (not verified)

My daughter in law got hurt

My daughter in law got hurt in a car accident and is getting a disability check of $900.00 s my son was incarcerated and is now coming home. she talked to him about getting a divorce or her income will be decreased to half. How true is this?

Sat, 06/25/2016 - 00:39 Permalink

In reply to by Mary (not verified)

Hi Mary,

Hi Mary,
Is she receiving benefits under her own work record or your son's? If she was receiving benefits under your son, she will be ineligible for benefits if she gets divorced and hasn't been married for at least 10 years. If she's earning benefits under her own account, she will not be affected.

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 16:16 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Can I get apply ssd after I

Can I get apply ssd after I get marry long time boyfriend. ? I have terminal lungcancer stage 4. Few or less years i will die.. I worked few years on and off not much money I earned. Wonder do I apply myself ssd or become husband under his name.. he working 50 his age. Me 52 yrs old lady. Send me comments. Thank you somuch

Sat, 06/25/2016 - 18:10 Permalink

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi there,

Hi there,
Yes, you would be able to apply for SSI or SSDI, however depending on your husband's level of income and your work record, you may not qualify.

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 15:40 Permalink
sharon (not verified)

I am currently recieving SSDI

I am currently recieving SSDI. I am 62 and not able to collect from my late husband, due I made more than he did. I am now considering re-marrying and my possible new spouse is also on SSDI under his own as I am. ( he is currently 58)The big question is, if we marry will any part of our benefits change?Other than the fact I do receive extra help for my meds thanks

Sun, 06/26/2016 - 07:28 Permalink

In reply to by sharon (not verified)

Hi Sharon,

Hi Sharon,
Your benefits wouldn't change because of marriage, as SSDI is based off of your work record.

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 15:46 Permalink
Adriana (not verified)

Hi, my boyfriend and I would

Hi, my boyfriend and I would like to marry. He is was deemed disabled before 22, and is collecting SSDI through his father, he also received Medicare and Medical. Would us marrying reduce or terminate his SSDI payment, and how would it affect his medical coverage? I am employed full time, earning about $50k annually and have one child dependent.

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 13:43 Permalink

In reply to by Adriana (not verified)

Hi Adriana,

Hi Adriana,
Your boyfriend may lose his benefits if he gets married, however he may still be able to stay on Medicare after losing SSDI.

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 15:47 Permalink
Positivepeach (not verified)

i want to marry my partner.

i want to marry my partner. my question is because we are same sex and he owes IRS will this affect my disability income from social security

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 20:47 Permalink

In reply to by Positivepeach (not verified)

Hi Peach,

Hi Peach,
I am not sure how this will affect his IRS payments, but if you are on SSDI benefits, getting married will not affect your monthly benefits.

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 16:21 Permalink
dora (not verified)

my ex and I collected SSDI

my ex and I collected SSDI his started at age 53 and mine at 50, we divorced two years later, the judge wrote on the judgement. that I will receive his benefit, due to a new one year of marriage law. is it true?

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 21:01 Permalink

In reply to by dora (not verified)

Hi Dora,

Hi Dora,
I do not believe you can receive benefits on his behalf unless you were married for at least 10 years and if you were disabled. If you are disabled and you were married for 10 years, you can continue to receive a potion of his benefits.

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 16:21 Permalink
Cynetha (not verified)

My boyfriend gets ssdi if we

My boyfriend gets ssdi if we get married will his payment stop for his children and our children benefits payments and him ?

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 22:02 Permalink
Nicole Heathcock (not verified)

I read above that a same sex

I read above that a same sex couple's benefits would not deem between same sex couples even if they are married. Is this still true?

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 02:29 Permalink

In reply to by Nicole Heathcock (not verified)

Hi Nicole,

Hi Nicole,
I do not believe that is true anymore. Because gay marriage is recognized on a federal level, the SSA will recognize it too.

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 16:19 Permalink
Shannon (not verified)

Hi my boyfriend gets ssdi and

Hi my boyfriend gets ssdi and I am currently a medical assistant and we are planning on getting married will he lose his check

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 09:31 Permalink
Carletta Jones (not verified)

If I get married to this guy

If I get married to this guy who gets SSI will he get cut off even though I don't work or have any income of my own I just have only what he gets from SSI each month?

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 21:37 Permalink

In reply to by Carletta Jones (not verified)

Hi Carletta,

Hi Carletta,
If you are not receiving any benefits and are getting no income other than his SSI benefits, then he may not have any change in his benefits once you two are married.

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:26 Permalink
Penny (not verified)

I have received ssdi an ssi

I have received ssdi an ssi since 95 i went back with my ex and just got married may 21 then my uncle passed away and my dad went into cardiac arrest thank God he is still with us i have battled with depression, death of my baby, back and lung and had several accidents fibromialgia, lupus, migraines, osteoporosis and osteopenia as well as i need knee replacements as well as i had thyroid removed bcs of a goiter and nodules and have a stent bcs of heartattack and then they want me to go to Mayo clinic bcs they think i have ms bcs there are times I lay down and cry bcs it's hard to walk my body burns it's really hard to describe .anyway i have been split w my ex boyfriend who has let me rent off of him bcs he went back to his ex with her for 6yrs but still takes me to doctor's helps me when I need grocery he goes and gets everything and then this last incodent i had a angina attack and he said all the right things I want you always have but he had alot of issues but to this day take care of me and my daughter buys school clothes anything she needs he gets anyway he said he's changed and didn't want to be with this girl that was trouble from the get go he proposed to me and I said yes and we get married right away and he has not changed he needs help and I am to weak to go there now we got married 21st of may now I have to get a divorce and no money but after that my uncle passed away my dad almost died so I haven't even contacted ssd yet about marriage bcs everything happened so what do i do an how do I get help on the divorce and will i lose my benefits i am a mess and need guidance on so much i can't even think straight and by the way he went back to his ex after I told him i WASNT putting up with his crap now I am scared he won't do what he has for years buy my kids stuff xmas everything and helped me get a vehicle that I can hatdly drive. Seriously can someone help do i have to tell them what happened and how do i get help with divorce and do i have to wait bcs he really did a number on me ay this horrible time of need please all this has spiraled me into we're my fibro and migraine bcs idk how i am going to live.

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 08:56 Permalink

In reply to by Penny (not verified)

Hi Penny,

Hi Penny,
That sounds like quite a bit to deal with! Regarding telling the SSA,
yes, you do have to inform them of your change in marital status as they do use marital status to calculate your benefits.

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:14 Permalink
Dean (not verified)

Hi, I'm going to need to

Hi, I'm going to need to apply for social security disability. I'm still legally married to someone, but we've been living apart for over 7 years. We live in different states. Do I need to get divorced in order to apply? We have a minor child together.

Sat, 07/02/2016 - 08:47 Permalink

In reply to by Dean (not verified)

Hi Dean,

Hi Dean,
You do not need to get divorced, however your marital status may affect SSI eligibility.

Tue, 07/05/2016 - 10:35 Permalink
lauren (not verified)

Hi I was wondering if

Hi I was wondering if marrying my boyfriend will get my SSI taken away he makes $8.60 an hour at his job I have a had my ssi since i was 18 have never worked will i lose my SSI?

Sat, 07/02/2016 - 15:55 Permalink

In reply to by lauren (not verified)

Hi Lauren,

Hi Lauren,
you may have a change in your benefits, as the SSA uses the combined income of spouses to calculate eligibility.

Tue, 07/05/2016 - 10:29 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I am getting social security

I am getting social security not SSI now if my future husband is on the same as me how will marriage affect us

Tue, 07/05/2016 - 19:32 Permalink

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi there,

Hi there,
If both of you are getting SSDI benefits rather than SSI, nothing would change as SSDI is based off of your individual work records rather than resources or income.

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 09:52 Permalink
Pam (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

My daughter and her common

My daughter and her common law husband are in this situation and their SSDI was reduced to a couple's rate. Why? If they get married will this increase or decrease their benefits? They were cut significantly when he applied for SSDI after she had already begun receiving payments. Thank you

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 19:11 Permalink

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