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 Pam (not verified)

Hi Pam,

Hi Pam,
If they are receiving income based benefits, the SSA may base their benefits on their household's income.

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 16:55 Permalink
Shannan Drewes (not verified)

I get SSDI. If I marry

I get SSDI. If I marry another person that also gets SSDI will our payments be affected.

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 21:28 Permalink

In reply to by Shannan Drewes (not verified)

Hi Shannan,

Hi Shannan,
No, if both of you are on SSDI rather than SSI, your benefits will not be affected.

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 09:49 Permalink
Lynda (not verified)

My boyfriend and would like

My boyfriend and would like to get married but we told because I'm on SSDI and he is on Veterans Disability we'd have to subtact my earning from his earning and that's what would live on. It's not to live on!

Sat, 07/09/2016 - 10:42 Permalink

In reply to by Lynda (not verified)

Hi Lynda,

Hi Lynda,
SSDI is not income based, but if Veteran's Disability is income based, then yes, those SSDI benefits may be counted for the purposes of the VA calculating Veteran's Disability.

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 10:23 Permalink
Kayla Nuckles (not verified)

I am afraid if I marry my

I am afraid if I marry my future husband they might stop my ssi. He does have a disability but does not receive ssi I'm the only one that is receiving ssi. We do live together but is not legally married yet. I don't wanna get married just yet without my knowing if it will affect my ssi. Will it affect my ssi or lower my income if I marry him?

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 23:49 Permalink

In reply to by Kayla Nuckles (not verified)

Hi Kayla,

Hi Kayla,
Yes, it may affect your SSI if you and your future husband have a combined countable income of over $1,030 a month.

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 09:36 Permalink
Bill (not verified)

I'm on sidi and my

I'm on sidi and my fiance is on regular ss . I know it says It doesn't matter how much her earnings are but does that also means ss ? Thanks

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 14:06 Permalink

In reply to by Bill (not verified)

Hi Bill,

Hi Bill,
SSI is income and resource based, and SSDI is based on work record, if she is on SSI, then her benefits may change after marriage.

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 15:27 Permalink
Arnold N Bowzer Jr (not verified)

Hi im 70 & retired if i

Hi im 70 & retired if i marry my fiancé she gets ssi& ssa dose it fefleced on income. ( wear i am retiref?)

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 14:41 Permalink

In reply to by Arnold N Bowzer Jr (not verified)

Hi Arnold,

Hi Arnold,
SSI eligibility is calculated by determining the combine countable income between the two of you. If your countable income is over $1,100 a month, she may have a change in benefits.

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 15:31 Permalink
Trig (not verified)

I was married for 25 yrs. My

I was married for 25 yrs. My husband died in 1999 and I remarried in 2005. I am 61 and went to SS and was told my money at 62,will be small but I found out that by divorcing my current husband I could collect my late husbands,as his widow the amount is 1000 More then mine each month. Do people do this? Is there a penalty if I remarry.

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 08:27 Permalink

In reply to by Trig (not verified)

Hi there,

Unfortunately, when a surviving ex-spouse waits until age 60 or later to remarry, they preserve the right to collect Social Security benefits on their deceased spouse's earnings record. Since you remarried before the age of 60 you will be unable to receive your late husband's widower amount.

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 11:37 Permalink
Schester (not verified)

Hello me and my husband is

Hello me and my husband is about to receive ssi Iam currently working. But we live in separate homes. Will that affect his check or my work check. We have no plans of living together.

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 18:48 Permalink

In reply to by Schester (not verified)

Hi Schester,

Hi Schester,
I would contact the SSA about this, as they may have not calculated your or his benefits based off the fact that you both are married. It may affect benefits for both or either of you.

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 12:01 Permalink
Marie Lowe (not verified)

My fiance is waiting to

My fiance is waiting to receive ssi or ssdi we are not sure which. I earn 17,000 a year how will marriage affect his benefits? If we do marry and he dies will i be able to collect his benefits?

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 12:47 Permalink

In reply to by Marie Lowe (not verified)

Hi Marie,

Hi Marie,
If your fiancé is applying for SSI, your income may be calculated along with his for the purpose of determining his benefit amount. Also, there are no survivor's benefits available for SSI.

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 09:45 Permalink
Heather (not verified)

I have a friend whos been

I have a friend whos been with her fiance for over a year but before they could get married he had 3 major strokes and he has been taken care of by my friend.which meant she couldnt there anyway she can collect his social security if he passes away..and if so what does she have to do.

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 13:40 Permalink

In reply to by Heather (not verified)

Hi Heather,

Hi Heather,
Unfortunately no. She would need be married to her boyfriend to qualify for his disability benefits if he passes away.

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 14:30 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Me an my boy-friend both get

Me an my boy-friend both get ssdi , would that mess us up ? I get my ssdi from my father he past away 25 year's ago ?

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 12:30 Permalink

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi there,

Hi there,
If you're receiving benefits on behalf of your father, you will no longer qualify for your SSDI if you get married; however, you may qualify for 50% of your boyfriend's SSDI if you're married, disabled, and over the age of 50.

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 14:31 Permalink
Isaac Burgad (not verified)

I'm looking at getting

I'm looking at getting engaged to my girlfriend in 2018 and both of us are in the same system that you described...will both of us be effected sence we both have other people that take care of our finchals?

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 14:59 Permalink

In reply to by Isaac Burgad (not verified)

HI Isaac,

HI Isaac,
Are you on SSDI or SSI? If you're both on SSI, your total income cannot exceed 1,100 per month. If you're both on SSDI, it will not matter how much you earn!

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 16:27 Permalink
Jeff (not verified)

I receive SSI and my

I receive SSI and my boyfriend receives SSI and SSDI. We plan to marry soon. How will this affect our income? Do you know the percentage. I think his SSDI will stay the same but both of our SSI will change because of his SSDI, right?

Sun, 07/24/2016 - 19:26 Permalink

In reply to by Jeff (not verified)

Hi Jeff,

Hi Jeff,
You both may have your combined incomes used to calculate your SSI benefits, and as such you may have a change in benefits.

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 15:15 Permalink
Chris U. (not verified)

I am currently receiving SSDI

I am currently receiving SSDI and divorced. My 2 minor children (who live with their mother) receive SSDI on my behalf too. If I re-marry, will my children stop receiving the benefit payments?

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 14:19 Permalink
Dan (not verified)

I am 60 years old presently

I am 60 years old presently receiving SSDI how will this effect my spouses benefit.

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 10:40 Permalink

In reply to by Dan (not verified)

Hi Dan,

Hi Dan,
This will not affect your spouse's benefit, assuming she is on SSDI as well. If she's on SSI, her benefits could be lowered.

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 14:23 Permalink
billie j rutledge (not verified)

I draw s.s. on my self and he

I draw s.s. on my self and he draws on his self what happens if we married. I am 54 he is49

Sat, 07/30/2016 - 19:18 Permalink
April (not verified)

Me and boyfriend want to be

Me and boyfriend want to be married. I get SSI of 733 he get SSDI of 819 but child support take out before receive it he get totally of 290 . If we marry how will our check be effected?

Sun, 07/31/2016 - 00:41 Permalink

In reply to by April (not verified)

Hi April,

Hi April,
Your boyfriend's check will stay the same, but yours may be reduced. It's hard to tell exactly how much you'll lose, so I'd call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to find out for sure.

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 10:42 Permalink
shamend (not verified)

If i get a domestic

If i get a domestic partnership an i get ssi would that affect me

Sun, 07/31/2016 - 23:14 Permalink

In reply to by shamend (not verified)

Hi there,

Hi there,
This would depend on how much support you receive from this partnership. If your partner is giving you money to pay for items, your SSI may be affected. Otherwise, it should not unless you get legally married.

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 10:43 Permalink
Maggie (not verified)

My son is autistic and is

My son is autistic and is currently receiving ssi benefits, because he's still a minor, I am the payee on his account. If I get married will that affect his benefits? ?

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 13:42 Permalink
Alice (not verified)

Im 47 year old became disable

Im 47 year old became disable four year ago. I receive SSDI . if my fiancee adds me to his medical will it affect my disability insurance and medical.

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 23:23 Permalink

In reply to by Alice (not verified)

Hi Alice,

Hi Alice,
If you are getting SSDI benefits, you would not have a change in those benefits as those are based off of your work record.

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 14:03 Permalink
Nancy (not verified)

I am currently on SSD and 53

I am currently on SSD and 53 yrs old. If I get married can I get benefits from my spouse benefits that would increase my own?

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 23:47 Permalink

In reply to by Nancy (not verified)

Hi Nancy,

Hi Nancy,
If you were eligible for benefits based on your spouse's work record, you would only get whichever benefits pay a larger amount, rather than getting both benefits based off of your record and benefits based off of your spouse's work record.

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 14:05 Permalink
Lisa (not verified)

I'm receiving SSDI when

I'm receiving SSDI when my exhusband retires I'll start receiving 50% of his federal pension as part of our divorce decree. Will that affect my SSDI payments? My disability was filed using my own work history. I am single and do not plan to marry.

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 09:43 Permalink
Tyler (not verified)

My son who is 11 was

My son who is 11 was recieveing ssi benefits since he was 2. I recently got married and the benefits were stopped. Even his Medicaid. Me and my husband both worked. I just lost my job. Could I reapply and get all his Benefits back ?

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 16:27 Permalink

In reply to by Tyler (not verified)

Hi Tyler,

Hi Tyler,
You may be able to apply for SSI for your son again, but they base his eligibility on your income and financial resources and your spouse's. Because of this, your child may not qualify. Regarding his Medicare, he may still qualify in your state, it may be a good idea to contact the office that handles Medicaid in your state.

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 12:06 Permalink
Christopher (not verified)

So if I'm working an

So if I'm working an only getting 300 every Monday an I wanna marry my girlfriend that gets ssi will her ssi go down or will it stay the same

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 22:06 Permalink

In reply to by Christopher (not verified)

Hi Christopher,

Hi Christopher,
The SSA will calculate your spouse's benefit amount based off of both of your combined income.

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 09:52 Permalink
Kristen (not verified)

So I have disability with the

So I have disability with the adult disabled child program, if I were to get married to someone without adult disabled child would I lose my benefits?

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 01:26 Permalink

In reply to by Kristen (not verified)

Hi Kristen,

Hi Kristen,
Yes, marriage may change your eligibility for benefits if you are receiving Adult Disabled Child benefits. However, it may be a good idea to contact your local SSA office as the rules can vary.

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 14:26 Permalink
David Ewing (not verified)

Rephrasing a question. I am

Rephrasing a question. I am on SSDI and have been for over 20 years, based on my own earnings. My fiance is on SSI, and has been for over 30 years. I have medicare, she does not. How will marriage affect our income, medical help. She has an adult daughter with developmentally disability that is also on SSI. Both receive medicaid from Washington State, they are moving to Montana with me. Are they eligible for Montana State aid? What is the best arrangement that will maximize our benefits. All three of us are 100% disabled. Thank you in advance for comments.

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 14:10 Permalink

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