Understanding How Marriage Can Affect Your Disability Benefits
If you collect disability payments due to an illness or injury that prevents you from working and you are about to get married, then you may be worried about how your nuptials will affect your benefits. This is a serious concern, especially since your monthly checks can reduce once you get married. To understand how both SSI and SSDI benefits may change, keep reading.
You likely know that your SSI benefits hinge on the amount of money you make. When you get married, a portion of your spouse's income is used to determine your income limit. In other words, your new husband or wife's income is counted as your own. This is called deeming and it ensures that individuals are only receiving SSI benefits if they truly need them. Since spousal income is typically used for family expenses, this is seen as a fair practice.
If your new spouse makes a substantial amount of money, then the income deemed to you may be more than enough to push your income limit over the eligible amount. A somewhat complicated formula is used to determine your SSI benefits based on deemed income, so it may not be immediately apparent whether you will receive benefits or not, so speak with the Social Security Administration or a disability attorney to understand your benefits and the formula a bit better.
You should also understand that both you and your spouse may receive less benefits as well if you both receive SSI. In this case, couple eligibility will be used to determine the benefits.
SSDI benefits are calculated a bit differently than SSI benefits. You probably know this and also understand that your own work record is used to determine your monthly benefits. If your own work record is used, then your benefits will not change simply because you get married. However, if you are using the work record of your divorced or deceased spouse, then your new marriage can affect the benefits.
If you plan on getting married, speak with an attorney of the SSA to see how your benefits will be affected. If you intend on using your new spouse's work record to gain benefits, then you may not see much of an interruption in the amount of money you receive. However, you should investigate this ahead of time and also understand the type of documents you need to fill out so your benefit checks do not stop simply because you get married.
Contact your local attorney (Waycaster & Allred is a good place to start) for more.