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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Snap Back to Basics – The Impact of Marriage on Social Security Benefits

In our recent blog posts, we discussed about the impact of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) repeal into the Social Security benefits. Now let us go back to basics. Today, we will talk about how marriage affects the social security disability benefits.

Technically, marriage may affect one’s social security disability benefits in various ways. Also, its impact usually depends on the type of benefits you receive such as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Under SSI benefits, your eligibility is basically determined on your income and financial resources. Once you get married, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will estimate a portion of your spouse’s income to your record. Thereby, the agency will consider your spouse’s income to be your income as well. The same may eventually reduce your monthly payment or even prompt the agency to terminate your benefits altogether. In fact, even though you and your partner are not yet married but are living together, the agency may still decide to estimate some of your partner’s income to your record.

Meanwhile, under SSDI, marriage has no impact on your own earning’s record, no matter how much your future spouse earns.

On a related note, several Los Angeles social security disability lawyers have previously explained that if an individual collects SSDI based on someone else’s earning record, the benefit can only be affected in the following ways:

•    If you are collecting SSDI benefits under your eligible parent’s record and you get married, your benefit will be terminated. Your only option to keep the said benefit is to marry another disabled adult child.

•    If you are currently collecting SSDI benefits under your ex-spouse’s earning record, your benefit will be terminated if you remarry. The same policy also applies to individuals who collect SSDI under the earning record of a deceased spouse who remarry before age 50 if disabled and before age 60 if not disabled.

Consequently, one good piece of advice is to always consider consulting with an SSA representative to avoid compromising your benefits. If such instances can’t be avoided, be sure to choose the right one to marry so that you will not regret losing something really important in the long run.