Getting married is a significant decision in your life. It is not only about making a lifelong commitment to your beloved partner. It is also a decision that can affect your source of income if you are collecting SSDI or SSI benefits.
Whether marriage will affect your Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits will depend on several important factors. Here is what you need to know.
How Getting Married Can Affect SSDI Benefits
To be eligible for SSDI, you must earn the benefits by paying into the Social Security system.
For this, you need to have enough work credits. If you are receiving disability benefits under your work record, getting married will not affect your eligibility in any way.
That said, if these work credits are based on another person’s work record, you may lose your benefits when you get married. This primarily depends on your relationship with the person on whose record you receive the benefits. Here are the most common cases:
- Parent’s Work Record — If you receive benefits under your parent’s work record as a disabled adult child (DAC benefits), your SSDI benefits will stop when you get married. In some situations, if both you and your partner are a disabled adult child, you can get married without either person losing benefits.
- Deceased Spouse’s Record — If you receive benefits as the widow on your deceased spouse’s Social Security account, you will lose eligibility if you re-marry before you are 60 years old or 50 years old if you are disabled.
- Ex-Spouse’s Record – If you receive benefits under your ex-spouse’s account, getting married will cause you to lose your Social Security benefits.
How Getting Married Can Affect SSI Benefits
When it comes to obtaining SSI benefits, there is a strict income and asset limit. When you get married, a part of your spouse’s income is counted as yours. This includes many different types of income, including SSDI benefit payments.
Suppose your future spouse makes a good amount of income. When a portion of this income is counted as yours, it could put you over the SSI eligibility limit. In other words, getting married can lead to a reduction or termination of SSI benefit payments. Additionally, if your future spouse is also a receiver of SSI benefits, one or both of you will typically experience a reduction in your benefit amount.
Marital Status and Dual Eligibility
The SSA calls people who receive both SSDI and SSI (concurrent benefits) “dual eligibles.” If you happen to be one of them, you should be aware that getting married could cause you to lose your SSI benefits. That said, your SSDI benefits not be affected by your marital status (unless you are a DAC benefits recipient-see above).
However, what might change is your eligibility for Medicare. People with dual eligibility in most cases qualify for Medicare premiums and deductibles subsidies. But, if your household income increases, you may not be eligible for this, meaning you might have higher out-of-pocket medical costs.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Disability Attorney
There’s a complicated system that dictates SSI and SSDI in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, especially for people who receive both benefits. It is crucial to understand all of the requirements so you do not invalidate or decrease your benefits.
If this page has left you wondering whether your marital status will affect your Social Security benefits eligibility, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys can help clear up any of your concerns. Attorney Sara J. Frankel is a former Social Security Administration staff attorney at the Office of Hearings and Appeals and therefore knows how the process works from an inside perspective.
Contact us online or call 508-730-1451 and schedule a free consultation.