How Does Marriage Impact My Social Security Disability Benefits?

How Does Marriage Impact My Social Security Disability Benefits?

The decision to marry another person is one of life’s most significant choices. In making such a momentous decision, people usually consider a number of factors such as:

  • Am I compatible with this person?
  • What are our finances like? Is there a need for a prenuptial agreement?
  • Where does the other person want to live?
  • Do we both want children?

For individuals who receive Social Security disability benefits, the impact of a marriage on these benefits is also likely to worry the recipient of the benefits. “Will a marriage mean a reduction in my benefits amount?” and “Is my new spouse eligible for any benefits following our marriage?” are just two common questions that Social Security disability recipients have when they consider tying the knot.

First, Some Good News…

The good news is that, for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI), a marriage typically has no effect on either the continuation of your benefits nor on the amount of benefits you will receive. These benefits are based on your work history and earnings record; therefore, a marriage will not change your eligibility for benefits nor the amount of SSDI benefits for which you qualify.

The bad news is that a marriage can impact your ability to continue receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits as well as other forms of government assistance such as food stamps. SSI benefits are awarded based on a person’s financial need and the addition of an income (either through a part-time job or a new spouse’s income) can change whether a person qualifies for continued SSI benefits.

Marriage Means Your Spouse Now Has Spousal Benefits

So long as you and your new spouse are married for one year, your spouse should be able to receive spousal benefits based on your earning record. These spousal benefits are a form of retirement benefit – not a disability benefit. Nevertheless, for a couple that is marrying later in life, the ability to receive these benefits after a year may be something the couple considers in deciding to marry.

Marriage Means Your Spouse Now is Entitled to Survivor’s Benefits

After nine months of marriage, your new spouse is also entitled to survivor’s benefits after you pass. Survivor’s benefits, like spousal benefits, are based on the spouse’s earning records. Like spousal benefits, survivor’s benefits may play a role in a couple’s decision to marry.

Questions About Social Security Benefits?  We Have Answers.

The laws and regulations surrounding Social Security disability benefits can be confusing enough for the recipient, let alone his or her family. At the Klok Law Firm, LLC, our team of experienced Social Security disability lawyers stay abreast of these complex laws and regulations. We can help you understand the disability benefits to which you are entitled and help you understand the ramifications that significant life changes (such as a marriage or new job) can have on your benefit payments. Contact us today at (843) 216-8860 for a free consultation.

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