Will a New Marriage Affect my Social Security Disability Benefits?

When individuals who are currently collecting Social Security Disability have a change in life circumstances, they are required to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA).  One such change of circumstance is marriage.  If you are currently collecting benefits and recently got married, you might be wondering what changes may occur to your benefit amount.  Let’s take a look at the different Social Security benefits and the effect of marriage on each:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Eligibility for SSI is based on your income and financial resources.  When you get married, your spouse’s income is then included in determining eligibility for future payments.  This can result in a smaller SSI monthly payment amount, or a termination of benefits if your new financial resources exceed allowable limits.  This rule does not currently apply to same-sex couples even if they are married, are registered as domestic partners, or have a license for a civil union.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
If you are receiving SSDI payments based upon your own past earnings, getting married has no effect on your benefit amount, but you still must report the marriage to the SSA.  No matter how much your spouse earns in the future, your benefit amount will remain the same.  Your SSDI claim was based on your past earnings history, which remains unchanged.

If you receive benefits as a disabled adult child based on your parent’s work record, when you get married your SSDI claim will most likely be terminated.  However, if you marry another disabled adult child, your benefits will remain the same.

If you are collecting benefits based on the work record of an ex-spouse, the benefits will be terminated once you remarry.

If you are collecting benefits based on the work record of a deceased ex-spouse, benefits will be terminated if you remarry before the age of 60 years old, or before the age of 50 years old if you are a disabled person.

If you are a child under age 18 or a student aged 18 or 19 years old collecting benefits, your claim will be terminated if you get married.

As you can see, the rules regarding marriage and Social Security Disability benefits are complicated.  Be sure to report your marriage to avoid paying back money, penalties, and fines.  As with all disability cases, it is always best to consult with a legal professional.

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