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How Does Marriage Affect My Disability Benefits?


To get approved for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) factors a number of details about you into their decision. In some circumstances, whether or not you are single or married can affect if you will be approved or even (if you are already approved) if you will continue to be eligible to receive disability benefits.

How Marriage Affects Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)


SSDI benefits are based on a person’s work history and current work activity. You have to have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, and to get work credits, you have to have a solid work history during which you paid your Social Security taxes. You can earn up to four work credits per year of employment, and you typically need 40 work credits, half of which were earned in the last 10 years leading up to the year you became disabled. You must also meet the SSA’s definition of disability.

Since SSDI is based on your work history and level of disability, your own benefits aren’t likely to be affected if you get married. Whether your spouse is fully employed or also receiving his or her own disability benefits, it doesn’t matter—your benefits and chance at approval shouldn’t be affected.

However, you may not be collecting disability based on your own work history. In these circumstances, your benefits may be in jeopardy.

Collecting From Your Parents

If you are disabled, over the age of eighteen, and collecting Social Security disability benefits based off of your parent’s work history, you are what the SSA refers to as an adult disabled child. Marriage, then, would disqualify you from continuing to receive benefits—with one exception. In some cases, an adult disabled child may choose to marry another adult disabled child, and they may both be able to continue receiving benefits from both sets of parents.

Collecting From Your Ex

Sometimes, a person may collect Social Security disability benefits based on the work history of their ex-spouse. If you are currently collecting benefits under your ex-spouse’s work history, getting married again to someone else will stop those benefits. However, if your ex-spouse has passed away and you choose to remarry after age 60 (or after age 50 if you are disabled), you will be allowed to continue to collect benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work history.

How Marriage Affects Supplemental Security Income (SSI)


SSI is a needs-based program. In order to qualify, not only must you personally meet certain financial limitations, but your household income must also meet those limitations. You must also meet the SSA’s definition of disability.

Your SSI benefits are much more susceptible to being reduced or revoked if you get married than your SSDI benefits. Depending on the income level of your spouse, you may exceed the financial limitations for SSI. If you and your future spouse both receive SSI, you’ll likely see a reduction in your benefits after you get married because the SSI payment for couples both receiving benefits is less than what two individuals would receive combined.

Help from an Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney

It can be difficult to figure out which form of Social Security disability benefits you’re eligible for, especially when even something like your marital status can change everything. An Indiana Social Security disability attorney can help you navigate the application process and answer your questions about eligibility. Call Hensley Legal Group or contact us online today for a free consultation. Be sure to download our free eBook, Eight Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits, for more information.