Does Getting Married Affect Social Security Disability Benefits?

You’re getting married. It’s an exciting time, but you may wonder how it affects your Social Security Disability benefits.

Pekas Smith Disability Attorneys explain how getting married may affect your Social Security Disability benefits.

How Does Getting Married Affect Social Security Disability Benefits?

Getting married does not affect Social Security Disability benefits paid on your earning record.

SSDI benefits that you have earned through your work history are not affected by marriage. You continue to receive these benefits as long as you have a qualifying disability.

If benefits are based on someone else’s earning record, like the dependent of a disabled worker, auxiliary or survivor benefits, getting married may terminate your benefits.

Will I lose my disability if I get married?

Whether you lose your disability if you get married depends on the type of benefit that you receive. SSDI benefits that are based on your own earnings record continue if you get married.

However, if you receive benefits as a widow or widower or as a divorced spouse, you may lose these benefits upon marriage.

Social Security Disability and Marriage

Whether your Social Security payments are affected by marriage depends on the type of benefit you receive. Consult with our disability attorneys for an individual review of your situation.

How Marriage Affects Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability payments that are based on your own earnings record are not affected by marriage. You worked for years to become eligible for benefits. While you must maintain eligibility based on disability standards, getting married doesn’t change your benefits. However, if you claim SSDI benefits based on a parent or former spouse’s earnings record, your benefits may be affected.

SSDI survivor, widow and widower benefits

If you remarry before age 60, your SSDI benefits will end. If you subsequently divorce, you may become eligible once again. However, marriage ends the widow’s or widower’s SSDI benefits when the marriage occurs at age 59 or younger. The reason is that the law presumes your spouse’s income can meet your needs.

If you’re 60 or older, your SSDI benefits may continue based on your late spouse’s earnings record. However, if you remarry someone who also qualifies for SSDI benefits, your benefits may continue. See RS 00207.003, How Remarriage Affects Widow(er)’s Benefits.

Divorced spouse benefits

A person who is receiving benefits as a divorced spouse must remain unmarried.

Divorced spouse benefits generally end upon remarriage. However, the rules for disregarding the marriage apply to divorced spouses as well as widows and widowers.

That means if you remarry after age 60, Social Security disregards the marriage, and you can still receive benefits.

Child benefits

When a child receives Social Security Disability benefits based on the earnings record of a parent, they must remain unmarried. If the child gets married, benefits end. A child may receive family benefits until age 18, or 19 and if attending high school full time, if the child is unmarried. Benefits end when they age out or when they get married, whichever happens first.

Child benefits may be reinstated if the marriage is annulled or voided. However, if the marriage ends by death or divorce, the child cannot become re-entitled based on the parent’s earnings record. They may be entitled to benefits based on the other parent’s earnings record. See 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(D), § 402(s).

If an adult child receives disability benefits because of a disability occurring before the age of 22, these benefits stop if the child gets married. The earning spouse is presumed to be able to support the spouse who previously received benefits as a disabled adult child. There is a possibility of benefits continuing if they marry another disabled adult child.

Social Security retirement benefits

Marriage doesn’t change your Social Security retirement benefits.

How Marriage Affects Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

When you’re married, your household income matters for SSI eligibility. Your spouse’s income counts in a calculation of your financial needs. The individual SSI maximum is $943 for an individual in 2024. For a married couple, the maximum is $1,415. There may be a state subsidy.

There may be a factual question as to whether two individuals are considered married for SSI purposes. SSI evaluators must determine whether two individuals who live in the same household are considered married. Roommates are not considered married, even if they live together to share expenses. Instead, holding out as a married couple and joint financial interests may impact whether the couple is deemed married for SSI eligibility determination.

Note: TANF and food stamp benefits depend on household size, not marital status.

While your eligibility for these programs may change if your living situation changes, marriage alone doesn’t impact these benefits.

FAQs About Marriage and Disability

What if my former spouse gets Social Security benefits on my earnings record? Does that impact eligibility for my spouse and children?

No. Even if your former spouse gets Social Security benefits on your earnings record, your current spouse and children may receive the benefits that they are entitled to claim.

Changing the name on your Social Security card

If you have remarried, Social Security needs to know. They can send you an updated Social Security card. You must submit proof of your legal name change and your identity. See what documents you need and how to submit your application.

About the Social Security Marriage Penalty House Bill

H.R.6405 – Marriage Equality for Disabled Adults Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 13, 2022. It was referred to the committee for consideration.

The bill aims to reduce the reductions and termination of benefits that may occur when a disabled person marries.

As of this writing, the bill has not been passed into law.

Get Legal Help With Disability Benefits

Whether you are considering getting married or applying for Social Security benefits, you need to know how marriage may affect your benefits. At Pekas Smith Disability Attorneys, we fight for our clients to get and keep the benefits that they deserve.

We invite you to contact us to talk about whether getting married will affect your Social Security Disability Benefits and any other legal issues you may face relating to disability payments. Call 602.962.2818 or message us to begin.

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